5 May 2010

The Attabad landslide: well, that's me told then!

Posted by Dave Petley

The Pamir Times is running an interesting story today that clearly puts me in my place!  Here it is:

“Hunza River lake would not burst, David Petley’s report is wrong”: 
Asad Zamin, DC Gilgit
Posted on May 5, 2010 by Pamir Times

PT Report

Gilgit, May 4: The report prepared by Dr. David Petley is wrong and the lake formed on Hunza River is not going to burst. Government experts have rejected any chance of lake burst.

These views were expressed by the Deputy Commissioner of Gilgit district while briefing the media about evacuation plan set up for downstream areas, at his office. He said that necessary measures are being taken because 1300 households in Hunza – Nagar and Gilgit district would be affected by the a flood that is likely to triggered by over-topping of the lake.

“There is no chance of lake outburst and we request the local populations to stay calm”, the DC, who also is the director general of district disaster management authority.

“Government of Pakistan, FOCUS Pakistan and other relevant institutions have teamed up to ensure safety of lives and property to the optimum in case of heavy flood that might be caused by over – topping”, Asad reportedly said. He also said that the 10, 000 internally displaced people will be sheltered at nine relief camps after evacuation to safer locations.

Commenting on removal of the Bailey Bridge in Danyore and the resulting isolation of Danyore and other localities he said that the Jalalabad – Danyore Road will be paved and expanded within a week to ensure supplies for Hunza – Nagar district.

The commissioner emphasized that the measures are being taken as precaution.

It is pertinent to note here that Dr. David Petley has calculated June 9 as a probable date for the spillover to take place, while also saying that the actual date might be earlier depending on volume of the water in the Hunza River. He has also said that there is a substantial risk of dam burst with the passage of time.

Three points to note.  First, my report does not say that a burst is inevitable, but that the risk is substantive.  Second, my report recommends precautionary actions.  Third, it is a brave man who says “there is no chance” about any natural system.

There are many readers here who are well-qualified to comment on the situation, so I invite you to do so.  To help I reproduce here an image from the Pamir Times yesterday showing the spillway: