Hunza Lake, two feet from spillway

Water in the Attabad lake was only two feet below the spillway on Friday, officials have confirmed.

Shabbir Ahmed Mir May 28, 2010

Water in the Attabad lake was only two feet below the spillway on Friday, officials have confirmed. To counter the growing threat, the government shifted IDPs from a relief camp downstream to another location.

Assistant Commissioner Hunza, Zamir Abbas told The Express Tribune that water from the lake would start emptying out through the spillway soon.

The government shifted displaced people settled in about 400 camps downstream to safer locations on Thursday, declaring the camp area too dangerous for habitation.

The Deputy Commissioner Hunza Zafar Taj told reporters that IDPs residing in camps at Faizabad had been shifted to higher ground because the government felt they were not in a safe enough position in the event that a flash flood occurred. Taj said that arrangements to respond to an emergency had been completed, adding that authorities were hopeful that the impact of the lake when it overflowed would not be as devastating as had been feared.

He also said that people had also been warned not to visit danger areas.

Meanwhile, traffic on the Karakoram Highway from Gilgit to Hunza has been suspended for an indefinite period in view of a possible breach of the Attabad Lake, Abbas said. “The decision has been taken to ensure the safety of passengers,” he said.

Lieutenant-General (Retd) Nadeem Ahmed, Chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), told reporters in Gilgit that the government had spent Rs350 million on relief efforts since the disaster struck Hunza.

He said the NDMA was setting up a hotline control room which will be manned around-the-clock. “The hotline’s number will be flashed across TV screens so that people’s difficulties can be addressed immediately,” he said.

Ahmed said the government will soon launch a Business Revival Loan Programme for those people in Gulmit who lost their businesses to the expanding lake.

Also on Thursday, a representative body calling itself the ‘Coordination Committee Gojal’ threatened to launch a civil disobedience movement against what they termed the “government’s atrocities towards the affectees of Attabad and Gojal.”

During a press conference, the group demanded that Gojal be declared a calamity-hit area and called for compensation. They said their areas had run out of food, medicine and other basic amenities. The group threatened that they would begin a long march towards China seeking help. The speakers accused the government of harassing people from Gojal for voicing their demands.

Published in the Express Tribune,May 28th, 2010.


Zia Ullah | 13 years ago | Reply ATA ABAD FACTS AND FIGURES LOCATION: ATA ABAD SARAT, HUNZA DATE OF DISASTER STRIKE: 4th January 2010 DATE OF COMMENCEMENT OF WORK ON SITE: 20the Jan. 2010 Target given to complete the excavation of water course by NDMA: 2 weeks from start of work. Work completed about 3% in over 4 months. Parameters of Dam formed: Values are approx. Width at base: 1500 Meters Approx. 4900 feet. Width at top: 300Meters Approx. 980 feet Width at 20 meters from top 500M Approx. 1640 feet. Depth of water course excavated: 20M. Width of water course excavated: 18 M 60 feet. Length of water course excavated: 400Meters. Total excavation carried out by NDMA(FWO) of water course:18Mx20Mx400M=1,44,000 cubic meters. Total excavation to release water from lake: Height of Dam: 134M. Average width of water course: 20+60M/2=40Meters Average length of Water course: 900M Total excavation to reach Bottom of the lake to discharge water: 4824,000 Cubic meters. Work completed : about 3% No. of days worked on site for the water course.: 84 days. No. of earth moving machines at site: Excavators: 7 Nos Bull dozers: 3 Nos. Excavation by 10 machines in 84 days: 1,44,000 Cubicmeters Daily excavation by 10 machines: 1740 Cubic meters. Daily excavation by each machine. 170 Cubicmeters. Daily working hours: 8 hours. Hourly excavation : 21 Cubicmeters. Total cost of excavation of 144,000 Cubic Meters . (men and machines excluding airtransport and all other backup services. Rs.80 Millions. Quantity of each scoop by machines (average): 1.6 Cubicmeters. Cost of each scoop of soft soil scoop. Rs. 555/- per Where as Manzoor Watoo claims just 10 million had been Spent. What about billions after that) No. of scoops in one hours(approx): 13 to 14 scoops. As the soil was put on the banks of the water course being excavated (this can pose serious threat while discharge of water is in progress if the banks cave in the passage shall be blocked again.) therefore there should be 50 scoops per hour. The soil should have been pushed down stream which would have accelerated the work. The low progress is due to the fact that every machine sank in the slush/mud and other machines were brought to the rescue of this machine. Result being the wastage of precious time and slowest possible digging At least from this point on the water pumps should have been brought in to do the job.The streams of water from the pumps would have cut the mud like a knife cutting butter. The Maximum time required to open the water course at very early time 4 weeks. 2 weeks for mobilization of men and material. The best option was to install water pumps on a floating platform from very beginning. This platform could be converted to a barge to ferry men and material as the lake formed at Ata Abad would be a permanent feature. This would have cut the huge expenses of shifting men and material by helicopters. KKH would have been saved and just 2 KM of road needed to be repaired. REPERCUSSIONS OF DELAY IN RELEASING WATER: 1 Suffering and displacement of thousands of families from towns and villages up stream namely: 2 AYEEN ABAD 3 SHISHKAT 4 GULMIT. 5 HUSSAIN AND PASSO are also facing danger. 6 Suffering and displacement of thousands of families down stream in case the water discharge is heavy. 7 Loss of property upstream now and probable loss down stream after release of water. 8 Loss of earnings from farming for many years to come. Specially cash earning crops of potatos. 9 Loss of financial activities. 10 Tourism had picked up from China, it again plummeted to zero. 11 Isolation of upstream population from Pakistan. 12 Isolation of Pakistan from China. Since more than 30 KM of road has vanished under water. 13 Loss of border trade with china. Thousands of local people and from Pakistan earned their bread from Sost dry port. 14 Loss of academic time of thousands of students. 15 TO MOVE MEN AND MATERIAL AND IDPs by air and by road the relief operation which cost national exchequer millions of Rupees. 16 Permanent loss of land in the above mentioned towns and village. The predicament they are in now could have been avoided. Residents of submerged areas have lost all their belongs and have left nothing in their lives. ALL THE SUFFERRING COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED. WE ARE LIVING IN 21ST CENTURY WITH ALL RESOURCES AND TECHNOLOGY. BUT WHO WOULD USE THEM TO SAVE HUMANITY FROM AVOIDABLE SUFFERINGS. THE DISASTER WAS NOT SUDDEN EVERYTHING COULD BE ARRANGED BEFORE HANDS TO TACKLE THE DISASTER. With usage of water pumps the water course was possible to be excavated in 6 weeks, 2 weeks for mobilization and 4 weeks for the excavation work. Strangely the NDMA from very beginning had been using the term spill over and never used water course. It shows their mindset from very beginning. They had set their target. The facts and figures had been compiled by the professionals, Engineers the persons with knowledge of the area. The input had been carefully examined and scrutinized. Zia Ullah
Irshad Khan | 13 years ago | Reply finger crossed.
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