The Hunza Lake Catastrophe
On 4th January 2010 disaster struck the picturesque valley of Hunza in the form of a massive landslide. The landslide caused a major blockade of the Hunza River thereby creating an artificial lake. This lake is called as Atta Abad lake. The lake fed by the melting glaciers expanded steadily and is now 353 feet deep with the water rising at an average of 2 to 3 feet daily. Many villages and at an estimate 100 houses have submerged in water. Around 1,700 people have been rendered homeless as the rising water gushed into the villages.
The officials fear that the worst is yet to come as the lake might burst its banks and cause more flooding which would disrupt the lives of 50,000 people besides causing considerable damage to the infrastructure. Even the Karakoram Highway is under threat. Part of the Karakoram Highway is already closed because of the flooding of Gilmat a resort on the Highway linking Pakistan and China.
Steps Taken By the Government
To lower the pressure, a spillway is being dug to divert the water from the lake to its old course the River Gilgit. The government has also set up relief camps where medicines and food supplies are available. Nine tent camps for the displaced people have been set up as well. To warn the people of any emergency, warning sirens have been installed in control rooms and help centers throughout Hunza and Gilgit.
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