[Pictory] Ayinabad – Shishkat is sinking, every hour

by Zulfiqar Ali Khan

HUNZA, Jan 21: The rapid rise in the level of the artificial lake formed on the Hunza River, due to the devastating landslide of Jan 4 at Atabad has endangered thousands of people in the area.

Lt-Gen Najeeb of Army Engineering Corps and Maj-Gen Shahid Niaz of the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) visited the sites and assured to breach the block to release the water in 45 days.

The local people, however, are showing their dissatisfaction over the pace of work and sceptical about the 45 days deadline. They said that the lake water would submerge the whole Ayeenabad and major parts of Shishkat village before the deadline, rendering thousands of people homeless and destroying their properties.

An expert of Focus Humanitarian Assistance, a non-government organisation, monitoring the situation, told Dawn that the lake stretched on 8.9 kilometres with a depth of over 16 meters. He said the level of water in the lake was rising at a rate of 3.6 feet per 24 hours and the height of the spill point from the lake was 295 feet. About 339 individuals in Ayeenabad and 119 families in Shishkat Payeen (lower) were facing potential threat, he said. He further said that nine households had been evacuated to safer places.

The sudden outburst due to the pressure of the water could also wash away the low-lying settlements, bridges on KKH and community properties in Hunza-Nagar and Gilgit districts.

Ghulam Abbas, an affected person from Ayeenabad, said that about 800 kanal of cultivable and non-cultivable land with thousands of fruit and forest trees had already submerged in the lake. DAWN

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  1. Dear Zulfiqar,
    Thanks for bring such a nice pictures and the current condition.
    Hope Govt tack some action quickly .
    thank you and all your teams.

  2. Thanks for showing the minor details of the disaster and its future impacts on our land. Everyone should take it as the matter of their survival .

  3. many many thanks dear Zulfiqar for covering all ongoing relief efforts for relocation of affectees, and specially thanks for putting Jan-e-Alam’s picture, that will give lesson for many of us so that we can also try to contribute to the cause.



  4. Dear Zulfiqar,
    Thank you very much for timely correspondence and reporting for the media regarding this historical disaster. I personally acknowledge and appreciate your marvelous efforts you have done so far. This is I think the best contribution to the affected people of Gojal valley.

    I wish you all the best and pray for your good health and long life.

    Best of luck!

    Abdul Waheed

  5. As PT is doing a wonderful job in highlighting the aftermath of landslide but action needed before a mojar disaster takes place. As the focus study shows increasing level of water ,it seems the whole village will be sinked . The Action committtee formed by members of Gojalis living in Gilgit ,needs to bring the authorites in action,as well as the whole community of Hunza should raise their voice to save the people and the area .




    1.What if We can Make Gilgit/Baltistan a Energy Corridor

    2.How about if Government of Pakistan can make Settlement for Entire Hunza/Gojal population in Capital of Islamabad and give more compansion to its people

    3.How about let this God created lake can be formed into a dam

    4How about in practical govt of Pakistan can build Dam and Can generate from the same lake?

    5.Freshly build this lake into dam and get Gojal area settled in Punjab and produce Huge Electricity from This Devil lake

    6.If we can take control of this lake i mean the govt of Pakistan and can think positive This lake can bring more beauty and Tourist Attraction to the all Regions

    7.We do have advantage /disadvantage but if we can think positive and at broader prospects the all Gojal populations can be moved to Areas of Pakistan and Govt of Pakistan does not need to go under Electricity Shortages.

    8.Lets Thank Allah for Everything

    Sorry my brothers no offtens this just an opinion this way Hunza can have 100% enegy to sell and Industry of any kind can start to take shape in all Gilgit/Baltistan, Proivde Govt of Pakistan takes Everything positive and right care for its Public specially for the current worse Scenarios

    With Best Wishes and Loads of Prayers for the souls departed during this debris.

  7. Dear PT,

    Thanks all the team for such dedication and really your site get us tuch with our home lend. keep it up.

    I request all to participate in this activity, such as donate things, time, money and advise.



  8. My Dear Zulfiqar,
    i highly appreciate your work, the way you are updating the situation of disaster in our area, may Mowla bless you and keep up the good job


    Fayyaz Ahmed Dewan

  9. I would just say its a real nice spirit of volunteerism the pictures depict itself and nice effort Zulfiaqar bhai for the latest updates on the situation over there.
    its really hard time for the local residents of Ayeenabad shishkat already the lowest part of the village has submerged into water and lower part of the village is going to face the next dangerous weeks and after that it could further submerge the lower part of shihskat payeen and center.
    if this situation remains the same till June without any intervention to release the lake then thousands of cubic feet water could possibly make its way and burst itself out from the lake devastating huge catastrophe and flood to the downstream of Hunza, Nager and even Gilgit region.

  10. @ Comment No. 6 above: dear you are suggesting to accept gojal turn into a lake to produce electricity for the region and rest of pakistan, and having a beautifull lake for the attraction of tourists. isnt it an expensive bargain? you are suggesting to produce electricity and tourist attraction at the cost of the identity of gojal? i dnt think it is a justified suggession or a so far possitve aspect of the disaster.

  11. Zulfiqar bayee and Nur bayee being a founder of PT you and your team are contributing termendously particularly to the people who are living in distance.

  12. @ Lets Think Positive Advantage/Disadvantage
    As an idea and point of view it is good but practically it is far from being materialised.
    1- The first point is abstract as it does not identify what it exactly mean by energy corridor and how can it be made.
    2- It is easy saying than doing. I don’t think that government as well as the area people will like to do that. For government it is a huge task and for area people it is not easy to leave everything behind including their land, their settlements, their culture and tradition, their past, their emotional attachment to the place and of course Hunza/Gojal itself.
    3. Dams can not be built wherever or whenever water gathers. It takes a long series of feasibility studies and it requires a huge infrastructure. So the question of dam is out of place.
    4,5, 6. For these also the description for point 3 is applicable.
    8. In God we believe, so yes, what God chooses is far better than what we choose. And also God doesn’t make people undergo sufferings beyond their capacity.

  13. @pt: Hats-off PT for posting updates @ daily basis, indeed it’s a great job you guys are doing, extending the updated info to the overseas mass! thnx!
    @ Lets Think Positive Advantage/Disadvantage: Let me tell you some technical prospects for the construction of dams:
    1- The dominant pre-design requirements for dam construction are, seismic study, geological study, environmental study and feasibility study, because it’s simply debris not a hard stratum!
    2- Before constructing the main dam, the prime requirement is construction of Buffer Dam to divert the flow of river course, which can be done by a long tunneling,
    3- Currently the river discharge rate is approx.120 cusecs, but in case of flood time it would be catastrophic submerging maximum areas nearer to river @ upper Hunza

  14. Dear All,

    It is almost useless to think about the merits and demerits of this blockage. The question is how stable is. No doubt that there is no alternative of gojal for the people of gojal as they are affecting most with the passage of time. Let the technical expertise assess and give some suggestions. If nature has left nothing except this blockage as dam then there is no option left except to accept it and change this disaster not to disadvantage rather to advantage.

    Thanks zulfiqar to update the rest of the world about this natural disaster.

  15. my dearzufiqar,
    thanks you are giving good consideration about gilgit balistan problems and also incidence happened in hunza gojal and you have highlighted the problems of people throgh media in front of goverment of pakistan and other country of the world. thanks zulfi bahi for the latest coverage.

  16. @ Comment n°6.
    Your clauses 2,5,7 are equal to treason with our land and people. Bear very well in your mind that development doesn’t mean to deprive people of their identity. As far as the generation of hydal energy is concerned, whole of GB and Kashmir are a natural 2D plans to build dams. My question to you is;

    What if both India and Pakistan would start building dams in the whole of Himalayas by dragging the people out of their land? Shall it be acceptable for them??

    Your proposition of shifting people into Islamabad or elsewhere for the sack of a dam is highly disgracing and shocking. But ulternative settlements within their region can be negociable provided that all their basic neccessities like, roads,hospitals,schools,
    energy, sanitation, potable water etc are guaranteed. I think we have enough land in the high plateau of Deosai, Khunjrav, Harali, Shandoor alongwith numerous other highland settlements.
    I suggest it because when I see countries like Canada, Scandinavia, Alaska, Greenland and parts of northern Russia are some of the coldest regions on the planet where people have no problem to live in and these countries are yet the world’s richest ones. For all this to happen, a country needs an ultra-urban planning and motivation to help populations to live with dignity without touching their ego limits which is almost unrealistic-at least for now-in a country like Pakistan where marginalization, depriviation, oppression, corruption is a common practice of the whole society at large.

  17. Thanks a lot to the team of PT, for us here it is really important to get all this first hand informations and pictures, as we can not be there and see by ourselfs and help our people directly.
    our comment to Nr.6
    Sorry to say, but a person who is writing such ….bs…. sitting somewhere far away, never visited the area and does not know the people of Gojal/Hunza, their way of living, their traditons,their deep connection to their land and their spirit.
    The land of Gojal/Hunza is of much bigger value than anything in Islamabad or somewhere else. It is the root and mother of the people there. How could we ever think of leaving or giving away our roots or mother? It is also our spiritual home which God was giving us as a special gift. And he gave us also the ability to do our best to save it.
    It is sad, but it lools like that you guys can only think in money terms. These people were putting since generations lots of heart blood, energy and time in each square metre of fertile land – do you really think they would like to go to Islamabad or Punjab (is it a joke, or?).
    We want to thanks all people who do work to help and solve the problem, voluntarily or due to their profession. We should not give up, the solution is out there! And we are sure we will manage it!

  18. @ Lets Think Positive Advantage/Disadvantage | January 22, 2010 at 1:00 pm
    Mr. /Miss Anonymous apropos to your immoral as well as amoral suggestion to construct a new dame to meet the energy crisis in Pakistan by using the slide – hit area water reservoir, is indeed ridiculous. It is self evident that you might not be aboriginal/ native of Gojal. It is the need of the time that both Upper and Lower Hunza should unite and influence the higher authorities in one way or the other. Gojal is having a unique and glorious History. Gojal was as important for Hunza state as nowadays is Punjab for Pakistan because Gojal fed Hunza state. It does not mean that after the end of the state Gojal is having no importance. Do you want to cut the throat of friendship of Pakistan and China? Above all the mineral rich area will be buried for good that needs to be exploited to infuse blood in the dying economy of the country

  19. Thanks Zulfiqar for the reporting. Your new article on the current disaster appeared Dawn on Sunday and thats the only means which informs key stakeholders in down country. yet there is no coverage of the disater on TV.

    Apart from the damage due to landslide in Attaabad and potental threat of the water rise up and downstream, Turbala dam is receiving around 600 cusec less water which has negative impact on power generation and may be less water for irrigation in the plains. looking at the size and scale disaster even after 21 days the issue is not being discussed on TV.

    I guess the most vital issue is smooth release of water and we could not see any concreate action as yet.

    NHA might be concerned about the KKH, WAPDA may look for the the accumulative use of water. But who is seriously devising a workable solution of mitigation of the potential settlements which are under the threat of sinking?

    Ayeenabad with a few population may have limited capacity to influance G-B, LA but next villages in the row may be organized to to take a collective action to influance the govt before it is too late.
    Islamabad/ pindi based civil society activites did meet Gen Farooq, NDMA twice. Today he did mention that the physial work on the project has been initiated by FWO and it will take 45 days to release water.

    Do the local population know which locations- land, houses and other physical infrastructure will sink during these 45 days? and what is their reaction. Or in case it brusts what will be the volume of distruction downstream and mitigation plans for worse senerios?


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