4 January 2011

Attabad – one year on

Posted by Dave Petley

Today marks the anniversary of the Attabad landslide disaster that has so dominated the lives of the people of Hunza, N. Pakistan for the last year.  I do not intend to revisit the event here – I have covered the events of the last 12 months  in great detail, but there is a synthesis of the events in the second half of the paper below, which should be downloadable as a pdf:

10_06 Petley invited final

The reference is:

Petley, D.N., Rosser, N.J., Karim, D., Wali, S., Ali, N., Nasab, N. and Shaban, K. 2010. Non-seismic landslide hazards along the Himalayan Arc.  In: Williams, A.L., Pinches, G.M., Chin, C.Y., McMorran, T.J. and Massey, C.I. (eds) Geologically Active.  CRC Press, London, pp. 143-154.

Meanwhile, the first anniversary is being marked in Pakistan with a number of events, with (rightly or wrongly) the tone being very much dominated by a sense of continued frustration at the local and national government response.  Some coverage is provided in a newsy item the Express Tribune and a more reflective piece in the Daily Times.  In Hunza itself today is being described as the “Black Day”, with extensive demonstrations planned, although the Pamir Times reports that the demonstrations have been banned.  Other demonstrations are planned in Islamabad, but news these have not yet reached the news wires.

Unfortunately, both the chronic and the acute hazards associated with the lake remain.  The same Pamir Times article states that boat movements on the lake have been banned for a month, presumably because of the ice, effectively isolating the upstream population once again.  Meanwhile, the threat of an outburst flood remains, although we still have no way of knowing how acute this threat actually is at the current time, or in the summer ahead.