Attabad Lake was formed as a result of a massive landslide that took place on Jan. 4, 2010, in Gilgit-Baltistan. The Hunza river was blocked, gradually taking the shape of a lake, now famous as the Attabad Lake.
Twenty people died in the incident and 25,000 people of Gojal Valley were stranded. Gradually the lake extended up to 21 km in length and 330 ft in depth. More than six thousand people were displaced and around 170 houses and 120 shops were submerged in the lake. Many high profiles visited the region including Prime Minister, Army Chief, and many parliamentarians.
After four years the affectees are still waiting for the commitments made by the Government. Few people managed to rebuild their homes, but the majority are still hoping that their demands would be fulfilled.
Since the lake was formed the only means of crossing was by loading vehicles onto wooden boats. In 2015 the Chinese built a road tunnel that opened in September 2015.
The lake was formed due to a massive landslide at Attabad village in Gilgit-Baltistan, 9 miles (14 km) upstream (east) of Karimabad that occurred on January 4, 2010.The landslide killed twenty people and blocked the flow of the Hunza River for five months. The lake flooding has displaced 6,000 people from upstream villages, stranded (from land transportation routes) a further 25,000, and inundated over 12 miles (19 km) of the Karakoram Highway.The lake reached 13 miles (21 km) long and over 100 meters (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 June 4 water outflow from the lake had increased to 3,700 cu ft/s (100 m3/s).
Water levels continued to rise on June 18, 2010, caused by 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.
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 Hunza River, five villages north of the barrier were flooded. One village, Ayeenabad, was completely submerged. Major portions of another village, Shishkat, was 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 Hussain and Ghulkin villages of Gojal also got submerged as a result of the surging lake.
The entire population of Gojal valley, up to 25000 individuals, was affected as a result of the lake, due to difficulties of road access and reaching business markets and loss of land, houses, and agricultural products.
Attabad has been visited by both current and former Prime Ministers Yousuf Raza Gillani and Nawaz Sharif, and by the Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, Sharif announced Rs100 million of aid for the victims of the Punjab government and Rs0.5 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, a 60 feet (18 m) 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. A special documentary on this issue Hunza Kahani by Waqar Ahmed Malik was on aired on Express news.
Frontier Works Organization blasted the spillway of the lake first on March 27, 2012, and then on May 15, 2012, lowering the lake’s water level by at least 33 feet (10 m). Now it has become one of the most beautiful touristic place & tourism asset for Pakistan.