Water Level In Hunza Lake Increases to Dangerous Level

By Admin - Wed May 19, 1:09 am

HUNZA: The water level in the artificially formed 16km-long lake on the River Hunza has reached dangerous level as further landslides are exacerbating threat that the lake may burst its banks. The water level has surged further by 5 feet to 357 feet in the lake, just six feet below of water spillways created to release the water.

Officials say the water was expected to start draining into spillways later by May 20.

Water in the lake was rising by one meter (yard) daily.

The lake emerged on January 4 as a result of a massive landslide that killed 20, left about 25,000 people stranded and blocked Hunza river in a remote Himalayan region about 750 kilometres (450 miles) north of Islamabad.

Water from the lake has submerged parts of Gulmit, a tourist resort on the main Karakoram Highway linking Pakistan with China. The highway has already been closed, badly affecting trade between the two countries.

In wake of possible hazards by the flood, the local administration has started placing cradle bridges at various points of Karakoram Highway.

The ferry service has been halted in Atta Abad’s artificial lake as the water level rose further.

Flooding from the lake risks affecting 40,000 people with residents from up to 34 villages already evacuated to safety, a top disaster management official warned Tuesday.

“We are preparing for a caseload of 40,000 that could be affected by flooding,” Nadeem Ahmed, chairman of national disaster management authority, told a press conference in the capital.

Officials said that the helicopter service would be resumed once the weather improved. The region saw heavy rain on Monday.

Local NGOs say up to 13,000 people have already been displaced.

Panicked people took everything they could carry, even doors and windows, as the lake threatened to flood dozens of villages in upstream of Hunza.

The Frontier Works Organization of the Pakistan army, which had been building a 60-metre wide spillway to allow water to flow out of the lake safely, has stopped work in the area, but the Pakistan military believes the work done will prevent major flooding.

Hunza-Nagar is one of seven districts in the affected territory of Gilgit-Baltistan which has borders with Pakistani-administered Kashmir, Khyber-Pakhtoonkha’wa Province, Afghanistan and China. The affected area is 720km north of Islamabad.

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