Mother Nature is many ways, just like our mother. While our mother pampers us like no one else, her wrath is something we better stay away from! Similarly, Mother Nature unleashes her fury on us, but being a mother, she blesses us with her wonders at the same time.
In January 2010, a tiny village called Attabad village in Hunza valley in the Gilgit Baltistan region of Pakistan faced nature’s fury.
A natural disaster and a dazzling wonder!
A massive landslide brought down the Hunza valley burying Attabad village under debris. Unfortunately, 20 people lost their lives, and 26 homes were left destroyed. The disaster continued as the Hunza river was left blocked by the debris, creating a lake. The rising waters of the lake threatened to flood the villages above and below, both.
Slowly, the water rose to a depth of more than 300 feet and 13 miles long. Ultimately, around 6,000 people had to be displaced from the flooded region of the Karakoram Highway. A long rescue and disaster management operations involved airlifting the people along with their belongings from the valley.
To contain the rising water, a spillway was excavated to guide the flow over. But the water kept rising and ultimately flooded lower Shiskat and left Gulmit partially flooded. The fear of further flooding of the region and danger to the people’s life prevailed. The situation also threatened to cut off the road that connected China to Pakistan.
However, in August 2010, the spillway started performing well, and the dam’s walls also stood strong against the water. The disaster left many people devoid of their occupation and household. They were in despair as to what life laid ahead of them.
However, once the disaster ended, the silver lining began appearing. The region became an unexpected tourist attraction leading to a tourism boom here. Attabad Lake: The shining and shimmering lake of Attabad has become a leading attraction of the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. The lake is a splendid turquoise in spring and early summer, whereas it freezes over during the winters.
The tourists visit majorly during the spring and summer and indulge in various recreational activities like boating, jet-skiing, and fishing. The tourism boom has led to guest houses, hotels, campsites coming up near the lake site. It has benefited the locals who now earn their livelihood from tourism activities. The highway has been rebuilt, improving access to the region.
A visit to the site will leave you bewildered with the fact that a lively village sat at that place just a few years ago!
Alas! All is well when it ends well.
Other lakes formed due to landslides worldwide are Tangjiashan Lake (China), Sarez Lake (Tajikistan) and Red Lake (Romania).