[Report] ATABAD LANDSLIDE – HUNZA VALLEY, NORTHERN AREAS PAKISTAN

Richard Hughes, (Consultant Aga Khan Cultural Services):  Introduction Sometime during the first week of February 2003 the inhabitants of Atabad, (Hunza valley, Northern Areas Pakistan) noticed a ‘crack’ in the ground above their village. The village is located about 10km upstream of Karimabad, set high up on the crest of the main Hunza river gorge (E74°. 50” N36°. 20”). The crack was traced uphill through steep scree slopes and it became progressively larger until reaching the mountain rock face. It then swung back downhill until intersecting with the Hunza gorge cliff edge and where the crack also passed through some houses. Following inspection of the situation, by members of the Aga Khan Regional Council for Hunza and FOCUS (a Pakistan NGO for disaster preparedness), and then in discussion with the villagers, it was decided to vacate many houses down slope of the cracked ground, it has all the signs of being an incipient large landslide. It is likely this cracking was caused by a damaging earthquake, that had occurred at the junction of the Astor Valley with the Indus Valley on the 16th November 2002 (E 74°.45” N35°.30”). The earthquake had a magnitude of Ms 6.5 and was preceded by many significant foreshocks and many major aftershocks have continued now for several months. Various NGO’s and a FOCUS Geologist have recently inspected the crack and FOCUS has provided 12 tents to support those vacating their houses. The people generally moved back into historic ruinous houses abandoned some time ago, located in the central and old part of the cluster settlement. No technical advice has been given to the villagers about emergency actions and what to do in the future to recover their lifestyle. The Aga Khan Cultural Services Pakistan (AKCSP) consultant visited the village on 3rd April for about three hours. Many observations were made but the visit was short and therefore was not totally exhaustive – many of the points discussed below are therefore not comprehensive. The information gathered is sufficient to support a need for in-depth technical research and a consideration of future hazards and risk assessments in Hunza. for complete report

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