DUSHANBE, April 21, Asia-Plus -- Special commission comprising representatives from the Committee for Emergency Situations (CES) and the Main Geology Directorate will make flying around mountain areas in the country to assess the glacier situation, Asia-Plus has learned at a CES.  

The CES source said that specialists are scheduled to fly from Dushanbe on April 24.  According to him, a special attention will be paid to the Russia Geographic Society (RGS) Glacier in GBAO’s Vanj district, which has started moving. 

“At present we cannot say how fast the glacier is moving; we can determine it only after closely monitoring the situation,” said the Source, “However, there is a risk that the glacier can form a dam across the Abduqahhor River in the district and cause formation of a glacial lake there.”  

In the meantime, IRIN’s item titled “TAJIKISTAN: Melting glaciers pose growing threat in the Pamirs” of June 25, 2007 said that changing climatic conditions and warming temperatures are increasing the risk of natural hazards posed by melting glaciers in the Pamir mountains of eastern Tajikistan.

IRIN cited Qurbonbek Rustambekov, a hydrometeorologist in Gorno Badakhshan as saying, "Climate change is bringing various challenges to the life of the local population.  In the last five years we have observed a rise in local temperatures of up to three degrees centigrade here." 

In Tajikistan the impact of climate change is mostly observed on glaciers, say officials.  There are six large glaciers in the Pamirs. Two of them - Medvezhiy, and RGS glacier - have been posing a threat to villagers living in GBAO''s Vanj District for the past decade.  The RGS Glacier is 21km long, 300-400 metes wide and 150 meters high. 

The Medvezhiy and RGS glaciers are slipping towards Poi Mazor village in the area, about 200km west of Khorog, the provincial capital.  Observations in April 2007 indicated that the RGS Glacier moved five meters in only 10 days, IRIN said.

            IRIN quoted specialists as saying that the danger is that the glacier could block the River Abduqahhor just 15 meters away, and a glacial lake could be formed. The lake would eventually burst its banks as the glacier melted, experts said – and when the lake bursts it could sweep away 4,600 people and 18 villages.