Villagers destroy Early Warning System installed at Lake 513, Carhuaz at serious risk

O n July the 15th 2015, the population of Carhuaz celebrated the installation and transfer of the Early Warning System (EWS) that should protect them from a possible glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF). The EWS was made possible thanks to the Glaciers Programme and a massive contribution of the Swiss Government, a country that faces similar challenges like Peru. The event last year was chaired by the Swiss ambassador to Peru, Hans Ruedi Bortis, Vice Minister Mariano Castro and Jesús Caballero García, mayor of the city of Carhuaz.

The installation of the EWS made more than sense as in April of 2010, glacial Lake 513 triggered a flood outburst that created noteworthy property damage in the downstream town of Carhuaz, which is home to approximately five thousand people. Apart from the EWS for glacier outburst floods, the project also implemented evacuation routes and disaster responses, implemented curriculum plans containing climate change adaptation and risk management into 30 schools in the area.

On April the 1st of this year, CRNoticias Carhuaz reported that unknown would have destroyed the EWS that made Carhuaz vulnerable in case of a GLOF. At the time, cameras, radios, regulators, cables, geophones, a solar panel and structures were destroyed and it was estimated that damages would exceed 100.000 soles. Although the responsible culprits were never caught, the actions were strongly condemned by local journalists and the Municipality.

On November the 24th the EWS suffered a new attack, but this time the equipment was completely destroyed. According to CRNoticias Carhuaz, a large group of farmers from the White Mountain range of Hualcán, Shilla, Pariacaca would be responsible for the unrepairable damage. According to their beliefs, the EWS would be responsible for the drought they´re suffering and by destroying the EWS, it would start to rain! Most bizarre is that the mayor of Carhuaz, Jesús Caballero García was present at the site when the villagers began the dismantling of the EWS equipment, becoming an accomplice.

Mayor Jesús Caballero García hasn’t made an official statement yet. According to the local press, Carhuaz is back where it was six years ago and it´s faith lies no longer in the hands of engineers studying monitors, but in the hands of the ¨All-powerful One¨.

Picture: The Early Warning System in Carhuaz, CARE Peru – Noticias Huaraz- CBC (Facebook)


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