The quickly-rising Attabad Lake in a mountainous northern region of the country has resulted in over 17,000 people already having to leave their homes. The lake, which was formed from a massive landslide on January 4 that cost at least 20 lives and blocked the River Hunza, left thousands stranded as well as transportation and trade with China disrupted due to closure of the area’s Karakoram Highway.
On Saturday, May 15, the water level of the lake was noted to have already risen an alarming 341 feet, just a few meters below its limit, and submerged 120 houses, resulting in homelessness for 1,300 people and 12,000 others in some 36 downstream villages to seek higher ground.
Officials and experts now fear that the wall around the lake may burst, releasing a tidal wave up to 60 meters high into the valley.
Downstream evacuations continue, with the government having set up shelters and relief camps as well as a siren system to alert the locals of danger. Visiting the region, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani pledged financial help. Meanwhile, army engineers have dug a spillway to divert the water into a river, but experts caution that the channel could fail. Some officials now recommend requesting help from China, whose government has more experience in these situations.
Our appreciation, Pakistani government, officials, and all personnel working to assist the region’s residents. We are deeply affected by this bad news and pray that with Allah’s grace, may the Pakistani people be protected as humanity hastens to ensure our planetary safety through the adoption of eco-conscious lifestyles.
Ever concerned for humanity’s welfare in facing this plight, Supreme Master Ching Hai in a September 2009 videoconference in Peru once again spoke of such imminent global warming effects as glacial ice melt, urging for wise action.