Jan 24, 2010

ATTA ABAD HUNZA LAND SLIDING


According to initial disaster assessment report, four villages — Attabad Payeen, Attabad Bala, Sarat and Ayeenabad — were directly affected by the massive landslide in Hunza where thirteen people, including women and children, have been reported dead, while nine are injured and six are still missing.

The initial report has been compiled by Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS) which is a crisis response and disaster risk management agency established in Europe, North America and South and Central Asia. It helps vulnerable communities build resilience to natural and man-made disasters and compliments the provision of humanitarian relief principally in the developing world. FOCUS is an affiliate of the Aga Khan Development Network, a group of institutions working to improve opportunities and living conditions, for people of all faiths and origins, in specific regions of the developing world.

FOCUS Pakistan’s voluntary Search and Rescue Team (SART), Disaster Assessment Response Team, Community Emergency Response Team and Village Emergency Response Teams were immediately mobilised to respond to the emergency.

According to the report, in the upper part of Hunza Valley, a population of about 20,000 people has been cut off from the rest of Hunza region. “We are still trying to get to these people. Unfortunately if we don’t, soon, food and other supplies will run short.

This is also winter time in the region, so families living without shelter and heating are even more vulnerable,” said Fozia Anwar, a female volunteer working with the SART team in Hunza.

As part of its mandate, FOCUS Pakistan conducts regular geological survey and hazard assessments of vulnerable areas across the country, especially in the mountainous areas of northern Pakistan. According to a 2006 assessment of the affected area, there was a high risk of rapid movements and potential disaster.

The survey also projected debris fall resulting in the blockage of the Hunza River. According to the report, the eastern part of the village was the most vulnerable. “One block of the area had already been detached in a landslide in 1994. Since then, there was a projected risk of another block falling off, since there were obvious cracks that were at least 100m in length,” said a FOCUS geologist who conducted the survey in 2006.

The survey and hazard assessment report were shared with the Gilgit-Baltistan government, due to which 25 households were evacuated from Attabad Bala to relocate to safer locations in March 2009.

Other villages, Ahmadabad and Ayeenabad, have been evacuated given the threat of water build-up or dam breakage in the area. Wazir Baig, Speaker of the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) and Mutabiat Shah, Member, GBLA, along with officials from the National Disaster Management Authority are overseeing the response and relief efforts in Aliabad, Hunza, where relief items from all agencies are being collected. Search and rescue operations are still in progress by the Pakistan Army, local administration, volunteers, residents and trained FOCUS experts.
According to initial disaster assessment report, four villages — Attabad Payeen, Attabad Bala, Sarat and Ayeenabad — were directly affected by the massive landslide in Hunza where thirteen people, including women and children, have been reported dead, while nine are injured and six are still missing.

The initial report has been compiled by Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS) which is a crisis response and disaster risk management agency established in Europe, North America and South and Central Asia. It helps vulnerable communities build resilience to natural and man-made disasters and compliments the provision of humanitarian relief principally in the developing world. FOCUS is an affiliate of the Aga Khan Development Network, a group of institutions working to improve opportunities and living conditions, for people of all faiths and origins, in specific regions of the developing world.

FOCUS Pakistan’s voluntary Search and Rescue Team (SART), Disaster Assessment Response Team, Community Emergency Response Team and Village Emergency Response Teams were immediately mobilised to respond to the emergency.

According to the report, in the upper part of Hunza Valley, a population of about 20,000 people has been cut off from the rest of Hunza region. “We are still trying to get to these people. Unfortunately if we don’t, soon, food and other supplies will run short.

This is also winter time in the region, so families living without shelter and heating are even more vulnerable,” said Fozia Anwar, a female volunteer working with the SART team in Hunza.

As part of its mandate, FOCUS Pakistan conducts regular geological survey and hazard assessments of vulnerable areas across the country, especially in the mountainous areas of northern Pakistan. According to a 2006 assessment of the affected area, there was a high risk of rapid movements and potential disaster.

The survey also projected debris fall resulting in the blockage of the Hunza River. According to the report, the eastern part of the village was the most vulnerable. “One block of the area had already been detached in a landslide in 1994. Since then, there was a projected risk of another block falling off, since there were obvious cracks that were at least 100m in length,” said a FOCUS geologist who conducted the survey in 2006.

The survey and hazard assessment report were shared with the Gilgit-Baltistan government, due to which 25 households were evacuated from Attabad Bala to relocate to safer locations in March 2009.

Other villages, Ahmadabad and Ayeenabad, have been evacuated given the threat of water build-up or dam breakage in the area. Wazir Baig, Speaker of the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) and Mutabiat Shah, Member, GBLA, along with officials from the National Disaster Management Authority are overseeing the response and relief efforts in Aliabad, Hunza, where relief items from all agencies are being collected. Search and rescue operations are still in progress by the Pakistan Army, local administration, volunteers, residents and trained FOCUS experts.

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