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A view of the Hunza River gorge from top of the landslide debris
Photo by Pamir Times
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Landslide in the Hunza Valley, Pakistan

10.01.2010 by Planetmountain

Via Simone Moro and his agency in Pakistan comes the terrible news of a landslide which struck the area close to the village Attabad in the Hunza Valley, causing deaths, destroying land communications and isolating circa 22000 people. Published below is the email by Sultan Khan of the agency Nazir Sabir.

"You may have already received news about the massive landslide in Attabad (Hunza Valley) that has claimed over 50 lives as per latest reports and devastated hundreds of people living in nearby four villages. So far 15 bodies were recovered from of the debris including seven children and four women and dozens injured.

Last Monday’s disaster slid down 40 homes with dozens of people in them from two mountain villages into the fast-flowing Hunza River, including Attabad. The authorities have declared an emergency, but four days on, rescue workers’ hopes of finding any survivors are wearing thin. Some 1,500 people were forced out of their homes from the nearby villages after the disaster had shaken homes with huge cracks underneath and partly damaged in the entire area.

In addition to this human tragedy the monstrous mountain slide has completely blocked the Hunza River creating an artificial dam. This mountain slide has also damaged a two-kilometre stretch of the Karakoram Highway by the debris splashing across the river, completely blocking any land access to the northern part of Hunza known as Gojal.

The populations of over 22000 people in the far flung villages of Hunza are running out of rations and are at the mercy of air lifting of food supplies, medicines and other materials until the KKH is reopened that is likely to take over six months at least.  Yet there is a greater danger to the nearby villages and downstream areas if the blocked river dam bursts triggering flooding.

In the recent history no such terrifying catastrophe has been experienced in the Hunza Valley or anywhere in Gilgit Baltistan.
 
We have been informed that there is an acute shortage of blankets, beds, tents medicines and food supplies for the survivors and those affected. The bigger challenge at the moment is of food, fuel medicines and other supplies for those 22000 people of upper Hunza (Gojal) stranded beyond the blockade who are indirect sufferers and are going to be cut off from the rest of the country for many months to come.
 
Government agencies, the Aga Khan Foundation, Focus and a few other NGOs are in action already and we are accessing the situation further. Any contribution to this cause will be greatly appreciated. We will get back to you with details for relief help and donations once we have indication of help."

Sultan Khan, agency Nazir Sabir

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