Cracking Miacher: NDMA says residents have nothing to fear
GILGIT, February 13: As ecologists fear a natural disaster if the cracked slopes in Miacher Valley give way, the chairman of the National Disaster Management Association (NDMA) says there is nothing to worry about.
Maj Gen Saeed Aleem claimed the widening cracks in the slopes of Gilgit-Baltistan’s (G-B) Miacher Valley do not pose as an immediate threat to the residents. “The situation is not grave enough to threaten the residents in Miacher Valley nor does the situation warrant enforcement of emergency,” read a press release issued after the chairman’s meeting with G-B Chief Secretary Younus Dagha.
Located about 70 kilometres from Gilgit, the slopes of Miacher are developing dangerous cracks. It is feared if these widen further, a disaster far bigger than the one that struck Attabad four years ago, killing 19 people, could follow. With the slopes giving way, a landslide is expected to block Hunza River, drowning many adjacent settlements in its wake.
Aleem flew to Miacher Valley by chopper to weigh in on the situation after it was highlighted in the media. The chairman assured the residents of support in times of distress.
A team from the Geological Survey of Pakistan arrived in the valley on February 9 to survey the slopes and cracks which according to Mujahid Ali Shah, a landscape ecologist from the University of Greifswald, can cause a mega disaster.
While the experts have completed the survey, it will take them weeks to submit their report to the government. “We have been told by a senior official of the team that the report will be submitted in two weeks,” Qurban Ali, a resident of Miacher, told the media on Wednesday.
Madad, another resident of the valley, said two weeks was too long a time to find out what their next move should be – if they should stay or go – as it was getting colder and they would need to find shelter.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 13th, 2014.