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Hunza's Impending Doom

This is a discussion on Hunza's Impending Doom within the Tour and Travel forums, part of the :- Life Style -: category; The massive avalanche on January 4 has inevitably led to a series of natural disasters with adverse impacts on the ...

Old 05-28-2010
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The massive avalanche on January 4 has inevitably led to a series of natural disasters with adverse impacts on the lives of thousands living in the Hazara division. An IDP camp located close to the danger zone has just been shifted downstream to a safer location, while traffic on the Karakoram Highway (KKH) from Gilgit to Hunza has been suspended. The local's livelihoods have been severely affected and they are no more in their previously paradise-like Gojal. Moreover, the artificial Attabad Lake is expected to breach any day. If the river breaches, the disaster will be catastrophic, creating mass destruction and may even change the geographical map of the human settlements.

The first stage of the disaster affecting the Attabad village the very first day has killed 19 people and displacing more than 1,500 locals in the area. They were temporarily shifted to Altit village (Central Hunza) where they have been living in schools and makeshift homes in tents for the last five months.

The Hunza river lake has caused severe disasters, submerging two villages of Ayeenabad and Lower and Central Shishkat. Further north, the lower parts of Gulmit (headquarters and commercial center of the magistracy), Ghulkin, Hussaini and Zarabod villages have been submerged.

The upriver valley called Gojal was cut off from the other areas when the upstream settlements and the KKH were submerged by the river-lake and glacial water. This phenomenon impacted the lives of over 25,000 locals; the settlements and buildings of the area now look like peninsulas and small islands in the river-lake.

Although involved in trade and business with other settlements, the locals in Gojal valley are a farming community and, have been earning their livelihood by producing and supplying the produce, especially potatoes, to down country for more than three decades. The second phase of disaster is annihilating centuries old settlements.

The people, especially those from the submerged villages, have lost their assets, investments and farmland, the loss totaling millions of dollars. Some of the assets included more than 200 traditional houses and guest rooms, thousands of acres of cultivated and uncultivated lands; hundreds of thousands of fruit and other plantation and natural carbon sinks.

Potato crop just above the commercial area in Gulmit. The sources of income destroyed include hundreds of cattle-sheds; over 200 business, school and health establishments as well as intra and inter-villages road-links. In addition, this worst phenomenon in all this has been the abrupt end to the community?s rapid progress which will have a long-lasting psychological impact.

Volunteers gather to save houses in Gulmit. Different groups (from Khunzhrav to Karach) have lobbied and advocated for the early discharge of water from the lake by expediting work on the debris site. Unfortunately, the federal and local governments regarded this as political activism against the ruling party.

Scouts are seen helping affecting families. Some students were arrested when they protested against the situation and demanded that the government ?Save Gojal, Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan? from the impending disasters.

Frustrated with the communal issues, members of the advocacy forums in the upstream have began observing fourth day of each month (February, March and April) as an evaluation and accountability day of the government on the debris progress.

House of member Gilgit Baltistan Assembly Mutabiat Shah seen submerged under the water. Reportedly, a blame-game has ensued between the two groups ? the government?s local administration and the community gathering to demand immediate attention towards the impending catastrophe has been labeled as propagating anti-state elements and the matter was ended.

Unfortunately it takes a catastrophe of this scale for the concerned authorities to sit up and take notice, but by then it has been too late and people have lost their lives, belongings and homes.

A disabled women in Goze Gulmit sitting on the debris of her submerged house. The local economy of Gojal as we knew it has ended and there is no definite way of knowing when everything will return to normalcy.


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Old 03-04-2016

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