On January 4, 2010 at 2PM, in the mountains of Northern Pakistan near the Khunjerab border crossing to China, a village named Attabad was buried by a portion of a mountain that fell off.
The valley of the Hunza River was narrow at this particular spot so the rubble filled a 2 kilometer section of the valley, blocking the flow of the Hunza and blocking a section of the Karakoram Highway which links Pakistan to China, putting a stop to the active trade between the two countries.
A lake formed upstream from the landslide and since then the government has sent a few earth moving machines to dig a spillway but given the volume of the rubble the machines are much too few. Meanwhile the water level rises and rises... and engulfs one village after another, and the fiels newly sown, and the blooming orchards... and the houses.
Here are a few links to videos reporting on this, as well as background videos showing hair-raising scenes of travel on the Karakoram Highway ("KKH"), on rope bridges and foothpaths built on sheer cliffs, and landscapes of the beautiful valley, formerly known as "Paradise on Earth":
KKH Rawalpindi to Gilgit
Riding up the Karakorum Highway (KKH), Northern Pakistan
Adventure Roads along the Indus Valley and the Karakoram Highway
Bridges of the Northern Areas, Pakistan
Gojal, Upper Hunza
land slide in attabad hunza by amjad shakoo.mp4
View of Atta abd Hunza (by IZHAR Ali sutan abd).flv
Villagers digging Attaabad under rubble:
January 14, 2010 — Dabri has completely blocked the Hunza River . More than two kilometers
of the gorge through which the river once flowed is now filled with sand and rocks over,
turning the river into an expanding lake, posing great risk to the low-lying villages of
Gojal Valley and lower villages of central Hunza nomal n all villages beside Indus river.
Faisal Shakeel - The Situation at Hunza Lake.MP4
Making breach on Hunza River
Shishkat-Gulmit Bridge .mov
The main bridge on KKH between Gulmit and Shishkat will submerge in the lake formed on
Hunza water within a week. :
Gulmit-Shishkat Bridge Submerged.mov
khunjerab — February 27, 2010 — The lake formed on Hunza river due to the devastating
landslide of Jan 04 finally submerged the Gulmit-Shishkat ...
Hunza Disaster, updates of the day.mov
As of today, May 22,2010, the spillway is getting filled and hopefully the water will soon overflow and spare the remaining villages, just in time for the expected June meltwaters.
At the same time the Pakistani government has blocked access to YouTube so no video reporting has been posted since May 20.
This disaster has so far caused over 25,000 persons to be evacuated, either as a precautionary measure for the villagers downstream, or because their homes were submerged.