Five 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.
Special thanks to the Pamir Times; Gilgit Pakistan for sharing their photos and coverage of this event.
This photograph was taken while a secondary landslide was taking place near Attabad village in northern Pakistan on January 22, 2010, after the original massive landslide of January 4th blocked most of the Hunza Valley and dammed the Hunza River.
Residents from surrounding area visit the scene of the massive landslide in the Hunza River Valley in northern Pakistan on January 5, 2010.
A view of the newly-forming lake formed due to blockage of the Hunza River,
Land cracks visible in the land near what remains of the village of Attabad on February 1, 2010
Another view of the growing lake formed behind the landslide, seen from the ruins of Attabad village
Local volunteers conducting search for bodies in rubble near the village of Attabad
A funeral service is held for some of the victims of the Hunza Valley landslide on January 6, 2010
Men climb across landslide debris in the Hunza River Valley on January 7, 2010. The growing lake is visible in the background.
With the only highway wiped out by the landslide, Gojal Valley locals turn to airlifts to help them evacuate and get access to goods and services
In this image taken on April 30, 2010, local people use a boat to ferry their vehicles in a lake caused by landslide which cuts off part of the Karakoram highway to China, in the Hunza district of northern Pakistan
Heavy machinery is employed to lift and carry a wooden boat up the side of the landslide debris to be deposited in the lake to aid evacuation and supply
Pakistani loaders carrying goods imported from neighboring China which are ferried through a lake due to blockade of the Karakoram Highway, in Attabad, northern Pakistan
An aerial view, taken from military helicopter, of a natural dam caused by a landslide in Attabad village, Hunza district, northern Pakistan, May 21, 2010. Thousands have been evacuated from their homes this week in north Pakistan amid fears a lake, formed after a landslide blocked the Hunza River on January 4, could soon burst, triggering massive flooding and severing an important trade link with China
An aerial view shows a lake overtaking a village in the Hunza district of northern Pakistan on Saturday, May 29, 2010. There used to be a village down there.
Villagers, who lived near a lake created after a landslide in Hunza district, collect belongings from their home at Sheeshghat village
Women, who lived near a lake created after a landslide in Hunza district, cut barley in a field in Seeshghat village in Hunza district of northern Pakistan May 24, 2010.
As water rises, locals use a makeshift pedestrian bridge to help them supply and evacuate in the Hunza River Valley in northern Pakistan. The pillars are from an under-construction “friendship bridge” for the now-partly-submerged Karakoram Highway.
Pillars of the under-construction “friendship bridge” for the Karakoram Highway, now flooded
A girl cries while sitting with others to protest against the government’s failure to announce compensation for those displaced by a lake created after a landslide during a demonstration in Attaabad village in Hunza district of northern Pakistan on May 22, 2010
While the boats brought to the new lake have been a great help for the stranded people, concerns for safety of the passengers remains a major issue.
Pakistani soldiers help villagers as they board an army helicopter in the village of Altitin in the Hunza district of northern Pakistan on May 21, 2010. Flooding from a lake in northern Pakistan risks affecting 40,000 residents of some 34 villages already evacuated to safety.
Children walk near tents set up for displaced people who were affected by a natural dam caused by a landslide in Attabad village in Hunza district of northern Pakistan May 19, 2010
On February 28th, The second largest bridge on Karakuram Highway submerged in the lake water between Shishkat and Gulmit, two of the largest settlements of Gojal valley. The bridge had already been closed for all sorts of traffic due to the dangers posed by wind and water. Photo taken on February 22, 2010.
Workers use machines to dig a spillway to release water pressure built up by the natural dam caused by a landslide in Attabad village in Hunza district of northern Pakistan May 12, 2010. Fears are growing a lake created by a landslide will burst and cause a massive flood that could affect more than 50,000 people in northern Pakistan and disrupt a key trade link with China
The people of Gojal carrying daily essentials on their backs across the landslide site on January 12, 2010
People climb the 700 ft high landslide debris to be able to reach the boats while moving towards Gojal Valley on March 28, 2010.
A gate near an orchard lies submerged in the upper Hunza Valley on April 14th, 2010. Around 40 houses in Ayeenabad and Shishkat Payeen have been dismantled to save valuables from sinking in the lake water.
To encounter Landslides is a daily phenomena of this area
A couplet in Urdu: Hunza is too dear to us. We will Rebuild our Home land
Source: The Boston Globe; news story in photographs