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Environment

Meteor Sighting in three districts of Gilgit-Baltistan

A video footage of a perishing meteor was captured on a CCTV camera at an armed forces mess in Gilgit-Baltistan. The meteor sighting was reported from Islamabad, Topi, Kohistan, Diamer, Gilgit and Ghizer districts.

Imran Ahmed Hunzai

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Meteor Sighting in three districts of Gilgit-Baltistan

A video footage of a perishing meteor was captured on a CCTV camera at an armed forces mess in Gilgit-Baltistan. The meteor sighting was reported at around 9:00 PM (PST) from Islamabad, Kohistan, Diamer, Gilgit and Ghizer districts.

“I saw it for about 3 seconds and it disappeared in the mountains of Margalla” says Sitara, a resident of Islamabad.

She added:

“It was the biggest and brightest that I have seen in my life”.

Misbah Abbas, a university student from Hunza at GIKI also reported a sighting.

Zeeshan, another eyewitness, was in Gilgit who spotted the shooting star. He says it happened so fast he could not even take a picture.

Sightings were also reported from Kohistan, Diamer and Ghizer districts. The meteor disintegrated before falling.

Meteor Sighting in Gilgit-Baltistan

This image was taken in Gilgit before the meteor disintegrated.

Video courtesy: Information Department of Gilgit-Baltistan.

Imran Hunzai is a Digital Media Consultant and activist based in Islamabad, Pakistan. When free, he likes to travel, do photography and play Rabab. He also runs a HONY inspired blog called Humans of Hunza. Follow him of Twitter @ihunzai.

Climate

Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) celebrates Disaster Risk Reduction Week across Pakistan

Known for its scenic beauty, the mountainous regions of northern Pakistan are a popular tourist attraction. Apart from picturesque landscapes that meet the eye, what often goes unnoticed is that these valleys are extremely vulnerable to climate change and are categorized as one of the most disaster-prone areas in the world. Over the past few years, the high frequency of natural disasters across Pakistan – and particularly in northern Pakistan – has displaced thousands of innocent lives and has caused severe economic loss impacting public and private infrastructure and livelihoods.

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Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) celebrates Disaster Risk Reduction Week across Pakistan

The remnants of the Kashmir earthquake on 8th October 2005 are a strong reminder of the high disaster risk vulnerability of valleys in northern Pakistan. Claimed as the most devastating earthquake in the recent history of Pakistan, this earthquake killed more than 73,000 people, injured over 69,000 people, left 2.8 million people displaced from their homes and destroying 450,000 buildings. The aftermath of this traumatizing earthquake led the Government of Pakistan to declare 8th October as the National Day for Disaster Reduction and commit to improving the disaster risk vulnerability of communities in Pakistan. It is also pertinent to note that the United Nations’ General Assembly has declared 13th October as the International Day for Disaster Reduction.

To stress the criticality of disaster risk reduction associated with these national and international days, the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) is celebrating the Disaster Risk Reduction Week across Pakistan from 8th to 14th October. An affiliate of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), AKAH has successfully led community driven humanitarian initiatives to save innocent lives and infrastructure, particularly for communities living in the rural mountainous areas in Pakistan since 1998. Over two decades, AKAH has designed disaster risk plans and formed community-led organizations in over 750 rural and urban settlements to help them prepare and adapt against disasters and respond independently in the event of a disaster.

Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) celebrates Disaster Risk Reduction Week across Pakistan

Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) celebrates Disaster Risk Reduction Week across Pakistan

This year AKAH’s Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Week features multiple activities including raising awareness for students ranging from schools, colleges and universities across Pakistan on how to prepare against disasters through seminars, speech competitions and transect walks. Asadullah, a high school student in Gilgit explains,

Through the simulation for earthquake safety organized by AKAH in our school, I have learned that the initial 60 seconds are crucial after a disaster. Hence, rather than panicking, we should take cover and follow the steps taught in the stimulation to save our lives”.

The scenario-based drills are not only limited to educational institutions but also conducted in other rural and urban areas across Pakistan. During the DRR Week, these drills focus on communities, especially women and children, to increase their knowledge about disasters and enhance their capacities to respond effectively in disaster situations.

In addition, Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) is also engaging actively with government authorities to strengthen institutional liaising for better-coordinated response in events of disasters. In this regard, AKAH has trained over 1,000 representatives from government authorities, and over 40,000 community volunteers on effective disaster risk management.

The celebrations during the DRR Week reflect the harsh reality that mountain communities in northern Pakistan in particular, and all areas of the country in general, are exposed to a high frequency of natural hazards. On the other hand, the DRR Week reaffirms in raising awareness that losses from such disasters can be minimized if we are collectively well prepared against tackling the natural disaster.

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Environment

AKAH works with the Government for the second phase of relief for GLOF affected households in Ghizer

The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) has worked with the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan during the second phase of relief for Glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) affected households in the Immit Valley in Ghizer district of Gilgit-Baltistan

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AKAH works with the Government for the second phase of relief for GLOF affected households in Immit Valley in Gilgit-Baltistan

Immediately after the GLOF event damaged over 40 households in Badswat and its surrounding villages in Immit Valley in Gilgit-Baltistan, the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) worked closely with the Pakistan Army and the Gilgit-Baltistan Disaster Management Authority (GBDMA) to set temporary tents and provide food and non-food items to the disaster-affected families.

Continuing its response, in the second phase of its relief activities, AKAH is providing over 10 tons of food supply to 44 households to address their food supply needs over the next two months. In addition, AKAH is also providing the affected households with non-food relief items including hygiene kits, bedding and kitchen sets.

AKAH works with the Government for the second phase of relief for GLOF affected households in Immit Valley in Gilgit-Baltistan

The food and non-food relief items were distributed in the presence of Commissioner of Gilgit, District Commissioner of Ghizer, President of the Regional Council of Ishkoman Puniyal, Assistant Commissioner of Ishkoman Puniyal, Assistant Director of the District Disaster Management Authority other public officials. Representatives from the government commended AKAH’s efforts in reducing the vulnerability of disaster-affected households and hoped that AKAH will continue its activities in the affected villages.

AKAH works with the Government for the second phase of relief for GLOF affected households in Immit Valley in Gilgit-Baltistan

The District Commissioner also instructed the Local Government and Rural Development department to construct a pony track for Badswat and Sher-Roi within a month. In addition, the installation of a cable car for the village of Dawardass is in its final stages and the rehabilitation of water supply from Badswat to Sher-Roi is expected to complete within a week.

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