Dammed Hunza River: A graveyard of KKH bridges

The only surviving bride on KKH between Attabad and Hussaini

by Sahib Ali  | Images: Zulfiqar Ali Khan

Islamabad, August 11: Damming of Hunza River as a result of the Attabad landslide created a lake that has grown in length to over 25 kilometers.a Ayeenabad village is completely submerged in the lake while most of Nazimabad (Shishkat) and a very large portion of Gulmit is also under water. Low laying parts of Ghulkin and Hussaini have also been inundated by the lake water.

Around 300 families were displaced, mostly in Ayeenabad, Shishkat and Gulmit as their houses submerged in the surging lake. Agricultural land, orchards, trees, markets and hotels were also submerged by the lake.

The 250 meter long bridge between Gulmit and Shishkat

Destruction to infrastructure included submergence of a 22-kilometer stretch of the Karakuram Highway, along with seven bridges. The second largest bridge on 700 kilometer long KKH, located between Shishkat and Gulmit, was submerged by the lake. Two smaller bridges on the KKH were submerged in Gulmit while three near Hussaini village. Two suspension bridges located over the dammed river were also submerged.

Inter-village mobility has been badly affected due to the destruction of roads and bridges. The loss, in monetary terms, amounts to billions of rupees. The Chinese government has reportedly agreed to rebuild the lost infrastructure but so far there has not been any action in this regard. People are traveling in boats that are not completely safe for life.

A boat on the Juchar bridge in Gulmit!

The local people see their hopes diminishing in view of the horrendous destruction caused by recent floods and rains across the country. “They will forget us and leave us at the mercy of time”, an afraid local farmer told this reporter in Passu village.

Government officials on the other hand say that the Chinese government will rebuild the entire region as agreed during a recent visit of President Zardari.

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