Attabad Lake,, also known as Hunza Lake, is a lake in the Hunza Valley of northern
Pakistan created in January 2010 by a landslide dam.
The lake was formed due to a massive landslide at Attabad village in Gilgit-Baltistan, 9 miles (14 km) upstream (east) of Karimabad that occurred on January 4, 2010. The landslide killed twenty people and blocked the flow of the Hunza River for five months. The lake flooding has displaced 6,000 people from upstream villages, stranded (from land transportation routes) a further 25,000, and inundated over 12 miles (19 km) of the Karakoram Highway. The lake reached 13 miles (21 km) long and over 100 metres in depth by the first week of June 2010 when it began flowing over the landslide dam, completely submerging lower Shishkat and partly flooding Gulmit. The subdivision of Gojal has the greatest number of flooded buildings, over 170 houses and 120 shops. The residents also had shortages of food and other items due to the blockage of the Karakoram Highway. By June 4 water outflow from the lake had increased to 3,700 cu ft/s (100 m3/s).
Victims of the landslide and expansion of the lake staged a sit-in protesting the lack of government action and compensation payments to them.
As a result of the damming of Hunza River, five villages north of the barrier were flooded. One village, Ayeenabad, was completely submerged. Major portions of another village, Shishkat, was also submerged. Around 40% of the village of Gulmit, which also serves as the headquarter of Gojal Valley, was also submerged. Significant portions of land in Hussain and Ghulkin villages of Gojal also got submerged as a result of the surging lake.
The entire population of Gojal valley, up to 25000 individuals, were affected as a result of the lake, due to blockade of road access, difficulties in reaching to markets, loss of land, houses and agricultural products.
Attabad has been visited by current and former Prime Ministers Yousuf Raza Gillani and Nawaz Sharif, and by the Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, Sharif announced Rs100 million of aid for the victims from the Punjab government and Rs0.5 million for the relatives of those who died in the landslide
Attabad Lake in May 2010
Attabad Lake in August 2011
Areas downstream from the lake remained on alert despite some officials believing that a major flood scenario was less likely as the river began flowing over the landslide dam during the first week of June 2010. Many people have been evacuated to 195 relief camps.Two hospitals downstream, the Kashrote Eye Vision Hospital and the Aga Khan Health Service, evacuated both their staff and equipment. Some officials had incorrectly predicted that as soon as the lake began flowing over the landslide dam, a 60 feet (18 m) wave would hit the areas immediately downstream.
As of 14 June 2010, the water level continued to rise. DawnNews reported that " 242 houses, 135 shops, four hotels, two schools, four factories and several hundred acres of agricultural land" had been flooded, and that villagers were receiving food and school fee subsidies. They reported that 25 kilometres of the Karakoram Highway and six bridges were destroyed.A special documentary on this issue Hunza Kahani by Waqar Ahmed Malik was on aired at Express news.
The spillway of the lake was blasted first on March 27, 2012 and then on May 15, 2012. It caused a reducation in its water level by at least 33 ft as performed by Frontier Works Organization.
Ethnic aspect of the lake disaster
The lake in September 2011.
The Gojal Valley, which is worst affected as a result of this lake, is home to three rare ethnic groups, namely Wakhi (70%), Burushaski (28%) and Domaki (2%). The entire population of Domaki speakers, a very tiny minority and historically marginalized community, was displaced from their village (Shishkat).
The Wakhi and Burushaski speaking minority ethnic groups have also been affected severely as a result of the disaster.