“we are considering different options to release water from dam on Hunza River”, General (r) Farooq

PT Report

Hunza, January 5: “We hope that the water of Hunza River would soon start seeping through the debris”, the Chairman of NDMA told Zulfiqar Ali Khan, when asked about the government’s strategy to release water from the dam formed on Hunza River.

When it was pointed out that prolonged waiting for the water seepage might endanger life and property of the resident of low laying villages of Gojal, the general said that there are other options, including usage of dynamite for blasting out a path for the water through the debris.

He also said that a chopper would be put at the disposal of the people working at the site of disaster. More than two hundred residents of Gojal valley are trapped in Aliabad, due to the blockade of Karakuram Highway, the only land route connecting China and Pakistan.

Shops, utility stores and depots in Gojal valley have been emptied by anxious consumers, fearing prolonged blockade of the KKH.

There’s not even a single doctor in Gojal valley to cater to the health needs of over 22, 000 people living in a highly scattered geographic setting. Lack of food, medicine and other daily essentials is becoming a serious issue in Gojal Valley.

The public representatives have demanded air lifting of food items to the valley to avoid further suffering.

Related Articles


  1. all of us should pray for them n also should do wird of Allah ho akbar as many times as we can also should beg forgivness from Allah from our sins

  2. we had informed three years before to gov’t and our institutions. but no any alternative measures has been taken Due to we could not leave our village, despite of knowing
    about the grave threat posed by the cracks that had appeared in the
    mountains.The government and NGOs were unable to
    offer dignified, alternative, livi…ng space to the residents.ourfamilies lived in tents for months

  3. 1. The dam should be treated with the utmost concern. A dam of probably somewhat smaller dimensions in 1858 filled and failed catastrophically leading to a flood wave that caused immense damage — the second largest on record for the Upper Indus – reported to have had an 18m peak at Attock, probably more than 20 m at Chilas, and likely 10-15 m at Tarbela, scouring and carrying immense volumes of sediment.

    2. However, in the Atabad section there are also several prehistoric megaslides which once blocked the Hunza and remained stable dams for decades or centuries. Obviously they inundated land that is today inhabited or carrying the KKH. It depends upon the nature and composition of the landslide whether it has to be treated as stable or unstable. It is, of course, a serious geotechnical problem requiring experienced engineers to determine whether a spillway can be constructed safely and in time, whether a permanent lake at some level could be stable and acceptable — possibly beneficial?? Careful monitoring is essential to identify whether water quickly finds ways to seep through the landslide (piping), or if it seems well-sealed.
    3. I will be happy to provide interested parties with the historical documentation and my own studies of the landslides and outburst floods, that may help in deciding what to do.
    3. However, let me add, people first! The people in the area of the landslides and up-valley need urgent assistance. Since it is mid-winter time there are prospects of further snow and intense cold I would urge the authorities to act quickly to ensure food, fuel, medical supplies and, if needed, temporary shelter, reach the areas at and above the landslide.

    Dr. Kenneth HEWITT
    Professor Emeritus
    Department of Geography and Environmental Studies,
    Research associate, Cold Regions Research Centre,
    Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, N2L 3Z9

  4. A similar lake was formed by the 2005 earthquake in district Hattian bala. A whole village named Karli disappeared; unfortunately the EQ 2005 was accompanied by heavy rainfall. I am thankful to god that presently we do not have precipitation in the form of rain but extreme winters are another threat that hangs over. Karli Lake still exists imposing great danger to the town of Garhi Dupatta which lies down the valley although army engineers constructed spill ways to mitigate the threat at that time and despite continuous water pouring into the lake, its level has been controlled and pressure is being continuously released. However as Dr. Hewitt indicated, the water discharge or lake has to be dealt with great care, as dynamiting could prove to be very dangerous. It would be quite helpful if the FWO is consulted and I am certain that they are already working on it. It is also evident from the history that sudden discharge of water could result in a catastrophe. The utmost concern presently is evacuation of people from low lying areas, shelters for the displaced, emergency food supplies and healthcare. It is also understandable that this disaster has traumatized people and they will need all the support possible. It makes me proud that the brave people of our mountainous north stand with their brethren in this great time of suffering. It is also very saddening that the concerned authorities were unable to provide possible solution to this problem. As I already mentioned I was hoping evry day since the past couple of months that some how the vulnerable residents of Attaabad will be relocated in safer places. But unfortunately it did not happen. I hope it is taken as alesson for future and similar issues will be dealt in the right time.

  5. What this Gen. Farooq is talking about? what is the mandate of NDMA? the NA-DMA or GB-DMA? why are they only waiting for a disaster to occur? and then go for the post disaster activities???? Are they doing something to prevent a disaster or atleast to minnimize the distructions as a result of a disaster? In this perticular case very huge cracks were noticed long time ago, and subsequently Geologists and other experts suggested to relocate the residents to some other safer places, as they consider it extremely dangerous. But the poor people were left alone, they are not able to purchase land at some other locations and build their house by themsilves. This was the sole responsibility of the government to relocate them.

    I can quote here an example of ERRA (Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehibilitation Authority), where they relocated people living on highly hazardous areas in NWFP and AJK to safer places, by providing them alternate land to rebuild their houses. This is a perfect example of disaster mitigation. I wish the concerned authorities (the NGOs too) would have realized the severity of the situation here, and would have taken some practical steps earlier, which could have saved many lives.


  6. The opinion narrated by Dr.Hewitt & Amber Masud are clearly highlighting the positive and negatives aspects of this catastrophe.
    Our sympathy is always with the family of the deceased and we can only pray for the eternal peace of their souls whom are no more with us today and for the betterment of the lived ones.

    Whatever, the losses were there one can’t remove them immediately it will take a long time to fill the gap. Looking the present scenarios what will be the immediate remedial to lessen the looses with the larger spectrum of future.

    Immediate relocation with all the foremost life requirements should be addressed by the Govt. mechanism and NGO’s working from the last many decades in the areas of GB.

    If the geological condition permits, this reservoir of water can be utilized as a natural dame for the Hydro power generation. If the present Government be able to persuade the Energy Conscious Companies, with in the Country and worldwide. They will definitely come forward if offered really a a good incentives what ever both the Gilgit-Baltistan and the federal government of PPP decides and after a reconnaissance survey deicide the spill way height and required alternate options the usage of this water for the betterment of the local people in the form of Hydro-Energy Resource. Otherwise if the water got through seepage with in the lose rocks will effect badly in the shape of serious disastrous to other surrounding areas as well.

    All these ideas are for the line of alternate options- I know it is totally different two things —–Thinking and practical implementations of such projects. However, looking the environmental condition of the country and looking the only main source of water of the country the idea strike me and I put it for thinking and may be some one thinks out of the box, and bring more appropriate reuse of the water source.

    How it effects on the ecology of the area, the environmentalist will be the best to judge and give their comments.

    I didn’t touch the relief of the habitants of Attaabad, because Dr. Hewitt addressed the problems and the harsh winter of the area.

    My good wishes are always with the people of the villagers of Ataabad individually.

    Engr. Baig Ali

  7. As the possibility of any such catastrophe had already been reported by some well-reputed local and non-local organizations but despite all these warnings why would not appropriate and preventive steps were taken by the authorities concerned? I am damn sure that nothing drastic is going to happen to alleviate the sufferings of our people. If we live in any civilized society then the culprits of this crime of negligence must be brought to justice. We all know that the prime culprits of this crime are the respective Assistant Commissioners of Hunza, District Commissioners of Gilgit, Chief Secretaries of Gilgit Baltistan and even Mir Ghazenfar, who was not only the elected representative of this area but the Chief Executive of Gilgit Baltistan.
    All the poor masses and their representatives had put forwarded their plea to these authorities and no one seemed to be really worried about the conditions and consequences of the negligence. It is possible that some local administration members would be transferred to some other part of these areas as a penultimate measure but that would not be an exemplary punishment. They should be charged for murdering 21 innocent people but it is not going to happen I know. On the other hand the role of our own philanthropic institution is also not laudable.
    We are really aggrieved by the role played by our own institutions too. They could have bought a piece of land (some 500 kanals) anywhere in Pakistan and shift these poor people to that area. Instead they focused on visiting this area and submitting reports only. However, the role of some enthusiastic individuals and well-wishers of the area is really commendable.

  8. Seriously NDMA and Gen(R) Farroq should get into a proactive mode and start a massive Disaster Mitigation and Management programme in Gilgit Baltistan province in partnership with FOCUS-Pakistan. This are is prone to natural disasters and is also in highly seismic area.

    This dam that has developed along Hunza river needs Urgent attention of Government Departments and NDMA. Where are the landslide experts of NDMA and GSP who attend conferences all over the world?. We the people of Hunza need your expertise.Please.
    Please treat this issue as very urgent as lives and assets are at stake.

    The observations of Professor Hewitt are very profound.He should share these coments with FOCUS Pakistan and NDMA

Back to top button