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:
Posted on May 5, 2010 by Pamir Times
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:
I am impressed with the confidence of pronouncing there is no risk. It is a bit dificult to make a prediction from a few photos, but the gradient of the spillway combined with the amount of fine grained material that will get entrained in the flow causes me to wonder if we could see a very large debris flow or debris flood develop.One other note. Have you or anyone else looked at past evidence of dam bursts down stream? Up stream it appears that there are old lake cut terraces on the valley slopes.
Dan, thanks for your comment. There are numerous terraces in this valley, reflecting multiple dam burst and GLOF events. Some are very large indeed – much bigger than this flood could generate. The whole landscape is littered with scars and debris from previous large rockslides and associated flood events.
Hello Dave! Gee, that was a shocker reading this. I check in daily with a sense of dread that it is the day the whole thing has let go… Really, I'm just speechless. Hopefully the Pamir Times will continue to report with images so we can at least see the truth of the matter for ourselves.My prayers for this to end as smoothly as possible will continue.I'd be preaching to the choir here if I say any more.Keep up the good work! Your committment and concern speak for themselves. Your efforts here at the Blog are much appreciated! JohnO:)
Forgive me, I do not have a handle on the geography of towns and where evacuations are and are not occurring. But the way I read the article, it sounds like the Deputy Commissioner of Gilgit and others are essentially preparing for the possibility of outburst with the evacuations, road preparation, etc., but are simply calling it over-topping instead of an outburst. Perhaps they feel by refuting the danger of an "outburst" they can carry out the safety measures without public panic and at the same time maintaining some sense of national pride at not being told what to do by a foreigner. Any thoughts, Dave?
Hi,I think Heidi has a point. This shows the dilemna of natural hazard management : when you take measures to prevent a natural hazard people will yell at you for wasting money and scaring people and if you don't do anything and something happens they will yell at you for not seeing it coming. So either way people yell at you. So I guess it's better to take good precautions anyway. But it's always hard to communicate with people who don't have the scientific knowledge to understand what they are facing. Thank's a lot for the blog! I check it everyday! Cheers
This is really interesting. I appreciate all the posts and reading the comments. Thanks for your time.
Hi Dave,Advise from a Pakistani. Simply ignore what Govt. people and politicians say here because all they have to do is “talk” and do nothing. You are doing a great job for people. I am sure these Govt. guys take notes from your site everyday. So chill out and keep up the good work. Hope this disaster will cause minimum damage to our poor people.
Hello David,i am the person who is worst hit by this calamity, my Entire village Shishkat has been swallowed but we are helpless in this natural disaster.regarding to the Government official comment just leave them. our corrupt government neglected this calamity and took it very easy now they are in panic and give such kind of stupid comments.we appreciate your job at least we get the scientific evidence and information from you.keep it up and God Bless you.
I appreciate the Great work you are doing in saving us from the disaster. Your research work and efforts are out of question and anyone can get the Proofs from data you provided and risks you mentioned. We always look at your blog for real updates so keep updating your blog.Thanks you very much for providing such a complete overview of the situation.Don’t bother about such news and we also don’t bother such news. News is of 5 May and He seems worried about the situation and the preparations required.