Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan, 3 August 2018 - On 17 July, Badswat and Bilhanz villages in Immit Valley of Ghizer District in Gilgit-Baltistan were hit by a glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF), which led to the formation of an artificial lake. As a result, over 40 houses were damaged and road access for around 10 villages was blocked from the rest of the Immit Valley. However, due to the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat’s (AKAH) ongoing awareness on disaster risk mitigation and the early mobilisation of the Community Emergency Response teams (CERTS), around 1,000 people were evacuated to safer areas prior to the disaster. No lives were lost because of the disaster.
Immediately after the disaster, AKAH worked closely with the district government, the Pakistan Army and the Gilgit-Baltistan Disaster Management Authority (GBDMA) to provide relief to households affected by the disaster. Helicopters of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and the Pakistan Army were used to provide food and non-food items, including medicines, tarpaulins and tents, to the affected villages on an emergency basis. A medical team from the Aga Khan Health Service, including a psychiatrist, was also mobilised. The team worked closely with the Government Health Department to provide medical services to over 90 patients.
Over 5,000 kg of food items were arranged by AKAH and together with the GBDMA. Food packs were distributed to over 750 people to ensure adequate food supply to affected families for a month. In addition, AKAH also worked with the GBDMA to provide temporary shelters to around 450 people whose homes were damaged. Mr. Shuja Alam, the Deputy Commissioner for Ghizer, noted that the, “Government, Pakistan Army, agencies of Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), and civil society organisations are working together in providing necessary relief to the affected households. With the help of helicopters from Pakistan Army and AKDN, supplies are also reaching remote areas which have been cut-off due to the floods.”