Aerial views of the disaster upstream of Hunza Lake barrier


HUNZA, June 18: The volunteers stopped on Friday widening of the spillway of Hunza lake after negotiations with the top military officials.

The National Disaster Management Authority Chairman, Lt-Gen (retd) Nadeem Ahmed and Force Commander, Gilgit-Baltistan, Maj-Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa met with representatives of the affected people and notables from Gojal.

The affected people gave 10 days deadline for widening of the spillway to increase discharge of water from the lake through controlled blasting of the boulders hindering the erosion to save further inundation of settlements upstream.

They left for their villages after the officials assurance and warned to resume their protest and spillway widening work if the authorities concerned did not meet the 10-day deadline.

Talking to mediapersons at Aliabad helipad, the NDMA chairman said that mishandling of the spillway could impact downstream areas therefore controlled blasting in phases would be made to increase the discharge of water.

He said panic prevails among people due to the damages to the settlements. He said the helicopter service is not economical and a permanent solution. The boat service would be allowed after ensuring the access and safety of the commuters, he added.

He said reasonable house could be constructed with the package announced by the Prime Minister for the affected people in Gojal. He said NGOs will be encouraged to facilitate the affected people.

Gen Ahmed said consultation had been made with stakeholders to allow the downstream people to continue their daily works during daytime and return to the camps during night time if the situation remained normal after the phased surgeries of the spillway.

About 200 volunteers from Shishkat, Gulmit and other villages had arrived at the spillway of the lake by boats on Friday morning.— DAWN Correspondent

Images: Zulfiqar Ali Khan

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  1. Keeping in view the construction of the blockage of a long barrier obstructing the flow of water and looking at the nature of these young mountains that they are prone to heavy land sliding; many circle have been suggesting time and again that controlled blasting of the boulder restricting the flow of water may be the only solution.

    But fearing the sudden eruption and downstream damages it may cause— hindered the authorities to take such measures lest they are blamed for the post disaster scenario of wide spread damages. All the experts are also found clueless to suggest any alternate solution.

    Lately this has become now the demand of the people of the area (particularly living up stream) that mechanical measures like controlled explosiosns to encourage the drainage of lake must be taken.

    May this out flow also remains in control but down stream damages so caused are but imminent and we all should be ready for that.

  2. The new photos show some interesting evolution of the spillway from June 12. The giant tilted slab on the right bank shown in sp16 and the composite has lost a major fragment compared to today’s dsc03265, which also shows a considerable flow beneath it indicative of undermining. About halfway along this tilted slab, the blue water ends abruptly in a breaking wave and you can see a line straight across the spillway. Just upstream of that at the upstream end of the tilted slab, you can see another line straight across the spillway that shows the water flowing over the lip of an underwater slab that has a slight tilt upstream. I suspect this underwater slab is mated to another slab upstream that tilts upstream at a fracture point — and that these two slabs control the water level.

    The upper right of dsc03263 shows a slab that stopped short of the spillway. It is opposite the 90 degree bend in the road and is illustrative of the size of slabs in the streambed of the upper spillway.

    Until the slabs go, whether by hydraulic forces, earthquake or blasting, or are bypassed, the lake level will remain close to where it is.

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