GILGIT TRIBUNE

Voice of the Mountain People

Landslide hits Hunza village; 10 killed

Posted by Gilgit Tribune on January 5, 2010

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By Zulfiqar Ali Khan
Tuesday, 05 Jan, 2010

UNZA, Jan 4: At least 10 people, mostly women and children, were killed and a number of others injured when a massive

landslide caused by shearing off a portion of mountain devastated a village here on Monday.

According to rescue workers and witnesses, about 40 people were still trapped in the rubble of mud and rocks. Ten bodies have been found and rescue workers are facing difficulties in rescuing others because of lack of equipment.

The landslide hit the village of Atabad, about 20km from Hunza. It destroyed over 40 houses, a community centre, a school and a number of cattle pens, trees and orchards.

Boulders and debris rolling down the slope blocked the water flow in Hunza river and formed a lake threatening a number of low-lying villages in Gojal, upper Hunza.

The landslide damaged a two-kilometre stretch of the Karakoram Highway, disrupting traffic between Gojal and Hunza. About 170 families were evacuated. A thick cloud of dust engulfed Hunza, Nagar and Gojal valleys.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has expressed sorrow and grief over the loss of lives. He asked the authorities concerned to provide best medical facilities to the injured.

Teams of doctors and rescue workers have been dispatched to Hunza.

Speaker Wazir Baig and member Mutabiat Shah of the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly rushed to Hunza to oversee the rescue and search operation.

The speaker told Dawn that the affected people would be given compensation after an assessment of the damage. Villagers would be evacuated to a safe place, he added.

The people of Atabad had noticed shearing off rocks, with cracks developing fast on it when a high magnitude earthquake jolted the village in 1994.

Our Correspondent adds from Gilgit: Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Syed Mehdi Shah has announced Rs2 million for the families of those killed in the landslide. A spokesman said that compensation for the losses of properties would be announced after an assessment

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