28 May 2010

Attabad: Overtopping is now likely to be imminent

Posted by Dave Petley

It is unfortunate timing that the likely day of overtopping has fallen on a Friday, the holy day in Pakistan, meaning that flow of information is impeded.  As a result I have not yet had an update for today on the lake level.  Jean Schneider of BOKU visited the site yesterday by helicopter and measured the freeboard at 2.25 feet, which is about 70 cm.  I am not sure what time this measurement was made.  Based upon the rate of rise of water level, that should put the time of overtopping at some time today.  However, this will depend upon the continued rise of the water at a similar rate, no further heave of the floor of the spillway and, perhaps most importantly, no further collapse of the walls of the spillway.

Meanwhile, the continued mixed messages from the Pakistan administration has been illustrated by an article in The News today:

“Zameer Abbas, Assistant Commissioner and in charge of relief camps in Hunza Nagar, told this correspondent that the Karakoram Highway had been closed for every kind of vehicular traffic as the lake water was expected to reach spillway today (Friday) after which the overflow would begin, paving the way for controlled release of water.  Dismissing the chances of water outburst, he said the landslide blocked some one-and-a-half portion of the Hunza River and it was apparently out of question that water would force out of this huge amount of mud and debris.”

I will post again when more information becomes available.  Please can you email me at: [email protected], and/or add a comment to this post, if you have news on the situation.