17 June 2010

Attabad – locals taking the situation into their own hands

Posted by Dave Petley

Several media outlets in Pakistan are reporting that the level of frustration amongst the displaced people at Attabad has reached the point that they have taken the situation into their own hands.  The Pamir Times has a pictorial record of what they have chosen to do – a large group have been working on the banks of the channel in an attempt to widen it.  There is a full gallery of images here, from which these are taken:

Unfortunately, the amount that they can do in actually widening the channel is limited, whist the risks to those undertaking this work are high.  Hacking away at the toe could destabilise the slope such that it collapses, dumping all of them in the water, and there is the potential for further slides from the slope behind.

Earlier reports suggested that people trying to join this effort from downstream has a confrontation with the police, and at least one person was injured.

I fear that this will ramp up the pressure on the authorities such that they will end up blasting the boulders without undertaking a full analysis.  I hope that this does not happen – but that a proper study is undertaken urgently.