|Attabad Lake (Urdu: عطا آباد جھیل) is a lake located in the Gojal region of Hunza Valley in Gilgit−Baltistan, Pakistan. It was created in January 2010 as the result of a major landslide in Attabad. The lake has become one of the biggest tourist attractions in Gilgit−Baltistan, offering activities like boating, jet-skiing, fishing, and other recreational activities.|
The lake was formed when Attabad village in Hunza Valley in Gilgit−Baltistan had a landslide, 14 kilometres (9 mi) upstream (east) of Karimabad that occurred on 4 January 2010. The landslide killed twenty people and blocked the flow of the Hunza River for five months. The lake flooding displaced 6,000 people from upstream villages, stranded (from land transportation routes) a further 25,000, and inundated over 19 kilometres (12 mi) of the Karakoram Highway. The lake reached 21 kilometres (13 mi) long and over 100 metres (330 ft) in depth by the first week of June 2010 when it began flowing over the landslide dam, completely submerging lower Shishkat and partly flooding Gulmit. The subdivision of Gojal has the greatest number of flooded buildings, over 170 houses, and 120 shops. The residents also had shortages of food and other items due to the blockage of the Karakoram Highway.
By 4 June, water outflow from the lake had increased to 100 m3/s (3,700 cu ft/s).
Water levels continued to rise on 18 June 2010 caused of a difference in the outflow and inflow of the new lake. As bad weather continued, the supply of food, medicine and other goods was stopped as all forms of transportation including helicopter service to Hunza could not resume.
Aftermath of landslide
Victims of the landslide and expansion of the lake staged a sit-in protesting the lack of government action and compensation payments to them.
As a result of the damming of the Hunza River, five villages north of the barrier were flooded. One village, Ayeenabad, was completely submerged. Major portions of another village, Shishkat, were also submerged. Around 40% of the village of Gulmit, which also serves as the headquarters of Gojal Valley, was also submerged. Significant portions of land in Hussaini and Ghulkin villages of Gojal also got submerged as a result of the surging lake.
The entire population of central Hunza and Gojal valley (Upper Hunza), up to 25,000 individuals, were affected as a result of the lake, due to difficulties in road access and reaching business markets and loss of land, houses, and agricultural products.
Attabad Lake was visited by former Prime Ministers Yousuf Raza Gillani and Nawaz Sharif and by the Chief Minister of Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif. Sharif announced Rs 100 million of aid for the victims from the Punjab government and Rs 0.5 million for the relatives of those who died in the landslide.
Areas downstream from the lake remained on alert despite some officials believing that a major flood scenario was less likely as the river began flowing over the landslide dam during the first week of June 2010. Many people have been evacuated to 195 relief camps. Two hospitals downstream, the Kashrote Eye Vision Hospital and the Aga Khan Health Service evacuated both their staff and equipment. Some officials had incorrectly predicted that as soon as the lake began flowing over the landslide dam, an 18-meter (60 ft) wave would hit the areas immediately downstream.
As of 14 June 2010, the water level continued to rise. Dawn News reported that “242 houses, 135 shops, four hotels, two schools, four factories, and several hundred acres of agricultural land” had been flooded, and villagers were receiving food and school fee subsidies. They reported that 25 kilometers (16 mi) of the Karakoram Highway and six bridges were destroyed.
Frontier Works Organization blasted the spillway of the lake first on 27 March 2012 and then on 15 May 2012, lowering the lake’s water level by at least 10 meters (33 ft).