9 March 2010

Another life lost at Attabad

Posted by Dave Petley

Construction of the spillway at Attabad in northern Pakistan continues, but there is little doubt that the construction workers at the site, and indeed those walking over the dam to access the boat service, face considerable risks from rockfalls from the original landslide scar. On 4th March such a rockfall occurred, striking two people on the upslope face of the landslide deposit. One, an army bulldozer driver, was injured whilst the other, a boyscout named Shezad, was unfortunately killed.

The rockfall that caused the incident was captured on video and can be seen below. The event in question starts at about 2 minutes 25 seconds. The final part of the video shows the aftermath of the rockfall as the two victims are brought up to a vehicle to be taken to hospital. Shezad is placed inside the cab, whilst the army worker is placed on the back of the pick-up. By western standards the coverage might be considered to be intrusive:

Meanwhile, the Pakistan government appears to be growing increasingly aware of the very serious threat posed by the landslide. The President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, yesterday expressed concern about the situation in terms of the provision of relief and on the construction of the spillway. However, the biggest issue is still the potential flood associated with breaching of the dam. The apparent lack of concern about this is very worrying.

The lake level continues to rise at about 50 cm per day according to the NDMA figures.