Shabir Ahmed Mir
GILGIT: Authorities in the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) have failed to decide whether or not explosives should be used to widen the spillway, sources toldThe Express Tribune on Wednesday.
“The situation is not an easy one to make a quick decision,” an official said, adding that the ‘matter’ was being discussed in internal meetings and also with experts.
If the lake bursts its banks, the villages of Shishkat and Gulmit will also submerge and 25,000 people in villages downstream stand to be affected.
On May 29, water had started flowing out into the spillway made by Pakistan Army’s engineers to drain the 24-km-long lake formed in January after a massive landslide struck Attabad. However, after almost three weeks, sources said that the lake was in its original shape.
“The amount of outflow is far below expectations and so is the erosion of the spillway,” the official said, adding that the lake kept swelling due to slow erosion.
He said that total water discharge from the lake was 6,392 cusecs on Wednesday whereas the inflow recorded was 6,200 cusecs at about 6 pm.
Hunza Deputy Commissioner Zafar Taj said that the lake’s level remained unchanged, adding that three helicopters had ferried stranded people and other goods to the affected area.
On Tuesday, officials said the lake had become stable as water discharge had matched water inflow. The lake’s level was unchanged and signs of water bursting the banks of the lake weren’t minimal.
Published in the Express Tribune, June 17th, 2010.