Landslide blocks Hunza river water

by Muhammad Darjat

Landslide of 4th January, in Attaabad village of Hunza, 15 Km north of central Hunza in Gilgit-Baltistan, needs steps to save livelihood means of small farmers up and downstream Hunza River. The river is one of the major water inflows to Tarbela Dam which has been stopped for the past 30 days. The massive landslide resulted in the death of 13 people, injuries to nine, and still six people are missing. Two hundred families have been registered in four camp schools in Altit village.

Relief operations are being carried out by the government of Pakistan (National Disaster Authority/local administration G-B) with facilitation from FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance Program of AKDN, PRCS and local volunteers. However, community friendly approach is needed for rehabilitation of the population of Attabad who have lost their physical assets due to the landslide. The landslide debris have blocked Hunza River and it has converted into a lake upstream. During the past 30 days the water has accumulated over a length of 10.5 KM upstream Hunza River and it has touched the pillars of Chinese built bridge. Over 5 Km of Karakorum Highway has been washed away and 22,000 population of Wakhi and Borshu cut off through land from rest of the country.

The government has initiated helicopter service which is transporting people and essential items but due to bad weather the helicopter service could not operate. Moreover the helicopter service would become too expensive unless the road is opened. The water flow from upstream watersheds and a number of glaciers, including 63 Km Batura Glacier and Glacier melts from Hussani/Gulkin Glacier Shimshal, Chipurson and Khunjarab valleys is being accumulated in a natural gorge. The lake has hit two villages (Ayeenabad and Shiskat) upstream Hunza River in Gojal valley. Small farmers have lost cultivated land, orchards and domestic forests, major part of their livelihood. The lake is rising one metre every 24 hours and is creating potential threat to settlements up and downstream. The people in Gojal Valley have demanded protective measures before settlements upstream go under water. In case the lake bursts, the villages and major physical infrastructures downstream would be washed away and rehabilitation of people would further put pressure on the national economy.

So far chief minister G-B, members of LA, DG, NDMA (twice), governor G-B, Minister Kashmir Affairs, MNA, Ms Marvi Memon, chief secretary G-B, and officials of NHA and WAPDA have visited the site but the key problem still remains. Despite visit of concerned officials to the site, not even a single cusec of water from the lake has yet been released. The glacier outbursts and landslides of abnormal sizes and river erosions are some of the indicators of climate change in that mountainous part of the world and these require serious attention of the experts at world level.

At the Attabad landslide site 82-metre high debris has to be excavated for a cut which may ensure outflow of the water which is most needed and is desirable to save indigenous population up and downstream from displacement. That will also ensure Hunza River inflow to the Tarbela dam so that energy crisis in the country is not deepened further.

Courtesy: Frontier Post

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  1. The blockage of river and KKH is absolutely a serious matter for a people Gojal as well as Hunza and Nager because if the lake burst out more than 8 bridges will be collapsed and the entire Hunza- Nager valley will be cutoff from the KKH. This unfortunate will create big challenge for the local people and the federal government.
    Indeed FWO is excavating to release the water but their working tempo is not that much to release the dam in the targeted date. So it is the responsibility of the entire Hunza- Nager people to use their influences to release the water before over burst and save the precious lives and properties.
    It is the responsibility of locals the engineers to give suggestions to release of dam and time to time provide actual information to the mass through print and electronic media.

    With best hope


  2. Since the disaster has happend lots of speeches and promises were made the local politicians and federal politicians viisited the region and lots of sessions and meetings were held in Karimabad and Gulmit to meet the current catastrophy which has keept 25000 people strended from the rest of the country and the lake has already effected the dwellers wealth of two villages of gojal Ayeenabad and Shishket and it is proceeding towards Gulmit lower part of Ghulkin and Hussaini.
    Accroding to some sources the artificial lake has also changed the weather of surrounding villages as rain snow falling and cold wind has made the sitution worsen for the local poeple the students are strended in their villages the patients are waiting for the doctors medicines in the equipmentless hospitals as the heli are wealther oriented and no any alternate transportation have been arranged one can not predict for how long this metter will be kept away from the international communities and for how long our people will face the (crusts and croughs) but our courageous and determent people will cross this hardship moments courageously.
    Now the students and professionals has started demonstration and protests against the goverment throgh out the country and they all shown their dissatisfaction on pace of work and they are urging the government to provide more machineries and equipements for the early release of the artificial lake and ask the international communities for help and assistance.

    Ali Masud


  3. Iam woory about leval of water in the lake, beacuse the lack is coverling agrecular land, trees, houses and other of use of people of aeeynabad shishkat, gulmit and other villages. In addition of the losses government is also suffering loss of misllions of rupees on rehibilation of people. This is force major. None is involved in creating this situaion. We should avoid blaming each other and government officals. Every one should unit and come to set for a permenat solution. In addition of settling down our daily issues whe should emphsis on government to make a permant plan for this alarmiung situation. I suggest to creat a fund for this issue and for future issues of this kind. No reports are issuring by the loal government as well as federal government in settle down the prsent issue and for future issues. Be united for great cause.

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