Hunza River Disaster

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A disaster happening that you’ve never heard of…Or maybe some of you have...

Six months ago, on January 4th, 2010 in the remote Hunza River Valley of northern Pakistan, a massive landslide buried the village of Attabad, destroying 26 homes, killing 20 people, and damming up the Hunza River.

As the newly-formed lake grew, authorities rushed to evacuate and supply those affected in the landslide area and
upstream. The lake is now over 300 feet deep and 16km (10 mi) long, submerging miles of highway, farms and
homes.

Earlier this week, the lake reached the top of the natural dam, and began to spill out - rapid erosion of the landslide debris has authorities worried about a potential breach, and locals have been evacuated as officials monitor the developing situation.

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Hunza River Disaster

  1. 1. A disaster happening thatyou’ve never heard of….• Six months ago, on January 4th, 2010 in the remote HunzaRiver Valley of northern Pakistan, a massive landslide buriedthe village of Attabad, destroying 26 homes, killing 20 people,and damming up the Hunza River.• As the newly-formed lake grew, authorities rushed to evacuateand supply those affected in the landslide area and upstream.The lake is now over 300 feet deep and 16km (10 mi) long,submerging miles of highway, farms and homes.• Earlier this week, the lake reached the top of the natural dam,and began to spill out - rapid erosion of the landslide debris hasauthorities worried about a potential breach, and locals havebeen evacuated as officials monitor the developing situation.
  2. 2. Thisphotographwas takenwhile asecondarylandslide wastaking placenear Attabadvillage innorthernPakistan onJanuary 22,2010, afterthe originalmassivelandslide ofJanuary 4thblocked mostof the HunzaValley anddammed theHunza River
  3. 3. Thisphotographwas takenwhile asecondarylandslide wastaking placenear Attabadvillage innorthernPakistan onJanuary 22,2010, afterthe originalmassivelandslide ofJanuary 4thblocked mostof the HunzaValley anddammed theHunza River
  4. 4. Huge cloudsof dust ariseas land slidescontinued onJanuary 6,2010, thesecond dayof theAttabaddisaster.
  5. 5. The people ofGojalcarrying dailyessentials ontheir backsacross thelandslide siteon January12, 2010..
  6. 6. A view of the newly-forming lake formed due to blockage of the Hunza River,seen three days after the landslide, on January 7, 2010.
  7. 7. Land cracks visible in the land near what remains of the village of Attabad onFebruary 1, 2010.
  8. 8. Anotherview ofthegrowinglakeformedbehind thelandslide,seen fromthe ruinsof Attabadvillage onFebruary1, 2010.
  9. 9. Localvolunteersconductingsearch forbodies inrubblenear thevillage ofAttabad onJanuary 6,2010
  10. 10. A funeral service is held for some of the victims of the Hunza Valley landslideon January 6, 2010.
  11. 11. Men climb across landslide debris in the Hunza River Valley on January 7,2010. The growing lake is visible in the background.
  12. 12. With the only highway wiped out by the landslide, Gojal Valley locals turn toairlifts to help them evacuate and get access to goods and services.
  13. 13. In this image taken on Thursday March 11, 2010, Pakistani loaders carryinggoods imported from neighboring China which are ferried through a lake dueto blockade of the Karakoram Highway, in Attabad, northern Pakistan. Amassive landslide early this year formed a natural dam in the Hunza Rivercreated a lake that is consuming upstream as it expands. If dam breaks, aflash flood could threaten downstream villages.
  14. 14. As water rises, locals use a makeshift pedestrian bridge to help them supplyand evacuate in the Hunza River Valley in northern Pakistan. The pillars arefrom an under-construction "friendship bridge" for the now-partly-submergedKarakoram Highway.
  15. 15. This image, acquired by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) aboard NASAsEarth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite on March 16th, 2010 shows the blockedHunza River and the growing lake, then 11 km (7 mi) long, inundating severalvillages and 5 km (3 mi) of the Karakoram Highway. Landslide blockage is atlower right
  16. 16. Pillars of the under-construction "friendship bridge" for the KarakoramHighway, now flooded - seen on May 2nd, 2010, only two weeks after thesame scene was photographed from a different angle two slides back!
  17. 17. Heavymachinery isemployed tolift and carrya woodenboat up theside of thelandslidedebris to bedeposited inthe lake toaidevacuationand supplymissions onApril 6, 2010
  18. 18. In this imagetaken on April30, 2010,local peopleuse a boat toferry theirvehicles in alake causedby landslidewhich cuts offpart of theKarakoramhighway toChina, in theHunza districtof northernPakistan.
  19. 19. An aerialview shows alakeovertaking avillage in theHunza districtof northernPakistan onSaturday,May 29,2010.
  20. 20. Women, who lived near a lake created after a landslide in Hunza district, cutbarley in a field in Seeshghat village in Hunza district of northern Pakistan May24, 2010
  21. 21. Villagers, who lived near a lake created after a landslide in Hunza district,collect belongings from their home at Sheeshghat village in Hunza district ofnorthern Pakistan May 24, 2010.
  22. 22. Pakistani soldiers help villagers as they board an army helicopter in the villageof Altitin in the Hunza district of northern Pakistan on May 21, 2010. Floodingfrom a lake in northern Pakistan risks affecting 40,000 residents of some 34villages already evacuated to safety, a top disaster management official said.
  23. 23. Children walk near tents set up for displaced people who were affected by anatural dam caused by a landslide in Attabad village in Hunza district ofnorthern Pakistan May 19, 2010
  24. 24. A girl cries while sitting with others to protest against the governments failure toannounce compensation for those displaced by a lake created after a landslideduring a demonstration in Attaabad village in Hunza district of northern
  25. 25. A view from a military helicopter of the lake growing behind a natural damcaused by a landslide which passes through Sheeshgat village in Hunza districtof northern Pakistan May 24, 2010.
  26. 26. Workers usemachines to dig aspillway torelease waterpressure built upby the naturaldam caused by alandslide inAttabad village inHunza district ofnorthern PakistanMay 12, 2010.Fears aregrowing a lakecreated by alandslide willburst and causea massive floodthat could affectmore than 50,000people innorthern Pakistanand disrupt a keytrade link with
  27. 27. A gate nearan orchardliessubmergedin the upperHunzaValley onApril 14th,2010.Around 40houses inAyeenabadandShishkatPayeenhave beendismantledto savevaluablesfrom sinkingin the lakewater
  28. 28. A partially submerged pedestrian bridge in the Upper Hunza Valley, seen onMay 7th, 2010
  29. 29. •After the lake began to flow through the spillway that was cut into the landslide debrison May 29th, the flow of the water has increased, but still does not match the inflowupstream from the Hunza River.•And - as is evidenced by these two images (May 30th on the left, June 4th on the right),the outflow is eroding the debris, working back toward the lake - potentially signaling anupcoming breach where nearly five months worth of river flow might wash away the damand cause serious flooding downstream.•Scientists and authorities are monitoring the situation and evacuations have been
  30. 30. What will happen next?• How would you deal with this disaster?• There is no bridge left…• There is enormous pressure on the ‘natural’dam caused by the landslide and water isbeginning to wash over the top.• In your group, discuss what you think shouldbe done and write on the sugar paper andselect someone to report back• Plenary - Watch this video…• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMye_ZqgEoo
  31. 31. What will happen next?• Did they have any better ideas?• What do you think will happen to thedisplaced people of the valley?• What would you do with these people toensure their safety in the short-term and theirlivelihood in the long term?QUESTION TO TAKE AWAY:Why have you not heard of this before now?
  32. 32. CREDITS:• Photographs and information from the Zulfir Ali Khan/PamirTimes, Reuters, David Petley, FOCUS, NASA, JISC, APPhotos.• PowerPoint by Edu4DRR with thanks to Garry de la Pomerai.• You can watch the initial landslide occur at:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zevBVop-sCk
  33. 33. The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) onthe Terra satellite acquired this false-color image of the landslide lake on June 1, 2010 -now 16km (10 mi) long. Compare to satellite image earlier in slideshow, taken 10 weeksearlier, and see that the lake has grown by 5km in length. Water appears in varyingshades of blue. Vegetation is red. Bare rock appears in shades of brown and gray.

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