“With beauty comes pain”. Although the snow caped mountains make GB, a global tourist attraction but they also make the local residents prone to natural disasters such as land sliding and avalanches. These disasters are unavoidable but proper planning can minimize the loss caused by them. Miachar a village in Nagar valley of Gilgitbaltistan is facing a similar issue where a slope has started drifting towards a lower elevation which is analogous to the Attaabad incident. The potential short term impacts may be loss of life due to the sliding, loss of property and valuable land and the blockage of Hunza River causing submergence of upstream valleys. Beside these harmful impacts, there are few long term impacts which are more detrimental and may cause long term suffering. Unfortunately, these long term impacts were totally ignored for the Attaabad incident which left the victims in an everlasting agony. These long term impacts included disruption of social fabrics of the victims due to establishment of multiple temporary camps, behavioral changes caused by the endless suffering, economical disability, educational backwardness and much more.
The local authorities shall not wait till the occurrence of the sliding as they did in case of Attaabad; Proactive measure shall be taken to minimize the short-term and long-term impacts of the potential land sliding. In my opinion following steps shall be taken before the occurrence of the potential land sliding
i. Scientific survey to determine the cause of such movements in the slopes shall be arranged to avoid such incidents in other areas of GB. The possible causes may be overloading the slopes, irrigation on the slopes, vibrations in the vicinity, force of gravity and earthquakes.
ii. Preparedness for removal of rubble and debris from river to avoid potential blockage. Formation of a lake may submerge many upstream valleys causing loss of property.
iii. Hotspots for such incidents in GB shall be identified and wireless sensors shall be installed to predict the moment of land in these areas. Continuous monitoring of such areas shall be insured.
iv. Scientific technique for prevention of land sliding shall be adopted.
v. If the incident is unavoidable, permanent settlement plan for the residents of Miachar Valley shall be developed. This shall be done in a way that protects the social fabrics of the victims.
vi. Urgent allocation of compensation to the potential victims to ensure evacuation from the Miachar village. Timely evacuation will evade loss of lives.
vii. No one shall be allowed to visit the danger zone once the compensation is given and the village is evacuated.
viii. Construction of new roads and bypasses as the incident may cause blockage of KKH and other small roads.
Authorities should not wait for the incident to happen rather they should start taking these precautionary measures at earliest. Public shall put pressure on the authorities to take the preventive actions to minimize catastrophic impacts of potential Miachar land sliding.