HUNZA: The newly formed lake in Hunza's Attabad town severed the road links between Pakistan and China as rising water levels submerged part of the Karakoram Highway at Gulmit on Wednesday. (Click the video tab above for a detailed report)
Without a proper spill-way for the lake, water levels are expected to keep rising to a dangerous level that threatens to flood a vast region in Hunza.
Sources informed that the lake is now at least 16 kilometres long and 1.5 kilometre wide. The lake was formed when landslides blocked a river in January and the trapped water is now at dangerously high levels.
If Attabad lake flooded, at least 36 villages could be submerged along with the crops. Also, parts of the famous Karakoram highway to China could be washed away due to flooding of the lake.
A two kilometer stretch of the highway was blocked, bringing trade between Pakistan and China to a standstill.
President of the regional trade body said that the blockage of trade has cost both countries about 17.8 million dollars which is about a quarter of the annual trade.
All electric poles in Gulmit were submerged under water leaving the area without electricity. So far, more than 9,000 people have been displaced by the rising water levels upstream of Attabad. Thousands more could be affected once the lake spilled.
Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Mehdi Shah visited the area to assess the situation.
He was stuck in the river for half an hour as the rope of the boat broke accidently during his visit to the bordering areas of the Baltistan division.
Syed Mehdi Shah is on a week long tour of the Baltistan division. On the fourth day of his visit, he reached Chorbat area where dozens of women and children welcomed him across the river. The chief minister went to meet them in the boat. He announced to upgrade the middle school of the area to a high school upon the demand of the children.