Moving Glacier Creates Another Attabad-like Lake in Hunza

The Gilgit-Baltistan Disaster Management Authority has warned that another Attabad lake-like disaster is in the making in Hunza.


According to the assessment report of GBDMA, the continuing surge in Shispare Glacier has led to the creation of a dammed lake. However, this lake is expected to flood the surrounding areas at any time and can cause immense damage to the local people, installations, and critical infrastructure located downstream.

The Shispare Glacier is located a few kilometers from Hasanabad village in Hunza. It started to surge in May 2018 and blocked the flow of a stream coming from the nearby Muchuur Glacier, stopping it from falling into the Hunza River at Hasanabad.

This blocked water formed an artificial lake, which is expanding day by day and is currently spread to over 700 meters and has a depth of 300 feet. Alongside, the glacier is expanding at a speed of seven meters per day towards Hasanabad.

The assessment report says that the potential flood has the capacity to submerge an entire portion of Karakorum Highway, over 100 houses in Hasanabad, a bridge, two powerhouses, hundreds of canals of fertile land, and a Frontier Works Organization (FWO) camp office along with blocking the flow of Hunza River as well.

Emergency Measures

An official of GBDMA has told that they have installed an early warning system in the area with the support of satellite cameras. Local residents have also been told about the measures they should take in case of an emergency.


He said that experts believe that if the glacier continues to surge at the current speed, it can hit the 2MW Hasanabad power station in two weeks.

GB Chief Secretary Captain (retd.) Khurram Agha has also held a meeting to discuss the precautionary measures and steps required to cope with the emergency.

The chief secretary ordered the GB works department to set up protective walls around Hasanabad by Feb.15 to protect the installations and the houses situated along the stream. He further directed the food department to store five months’ worth of rations and medicines in the upstream areas.

Agha also tasked the National Highway Authority to divert the traffic from the area if Hasanabad bridge on Karakorum Highway is submerged. FWO will build an alternative bridge as well.

The locals including the social activists are not satisfied with the measures. They say that the early warning system is not effective and that the government hasn’t taken any measures for resettlement.

Via: Dawn


  • why waiting for the lake to burst itself? why not the administration or the GBDMA take early steps to cope with the issue? isnt there any possibility to make a leakage for the water to pour out…or just blast the glacier after making proper safty arrangements for the nearby people and their property

    • Because coping with the issue isn’t easy. It involves solving global warming, and in case you haven’t noticed even superpowers like US and European Union are having trouble with that. What you’re suggesting is treating the symptoms, not the disease. We may be able to deal with this glacier but what about the next 100?

      • You’re absolutely right! im aware of the Global warming and climate changes but what im trying to suggest is, there are some long term measures and some short term actions…for Pakistan and esp in this case there is a need for in-time and early action to cope with this issue…as far global warming and the next 100 are concerned, that needs a comprehensive and Global level measures.

  • This is an alarming situation. The strong cooperation btw Line agencies esp GBDMA and the community can reduce expected risks of glacier. Risk reduction strategies need to circulate among the whole community.

  • India got the laser gun to disturb glaciers. They did it in Gyari sector. I suspect similar thing here.

  • Being a local i am well aware of the situation i have my self visited the said glacier. There are less chanches of outburst. Because mainly glacier water creates its way. And the size of the glacier is larger than the formed lake. I am sure that there will be no sudden glacier outburst the water level will increasing slowly. When the formed lake will be fill of water it will be overflow. ( there is a movement in the glacier) which is a alarming situation. It is my personal opinion based on my personal views.

    • If it’s giving us alarm then we should try to save people lives by providing a shelter kindly government should be make aware of this before it would be too late…. Because we lost many lives in attabad case people took the case easy and we are doing the same….. If they forecast the chances of outburst then people should be conscious about the effects…… Try to save their lives

  • GB k babu officer aur hamaray HI tech Engineers hath utha k dua he kr laytay awam k lia. q na 10 adad kalay bakray sadka kiay jaein?

  • Glacier surging is a natural phenomenon however anthropogenic activities may act as triggrring factors in glacial movement as massive blasting within glacited areas for many reasons such as development of Infrastructure, I.e hydropower projects and vibrations from massive blasting often are triggrring factors. What is needed is to take care of environmental sensitivities while executing developmental activities in disaster prone areas.
    Another factor is natural which is cyclic and dynamic movement of glaciers to adjust. It’s natural cycle. What we have to do is to built the coping capacities of organizations and communities. Disasters occurred every where in the world what they do is to boost coping capacities.
    I visited the site very soon after its surge. The lake formation, supra Glacier or what so ever is not that much big threat the real threat downstream is the melting of accumulated snow mass and weak glacial mass melting during peak summer season, which may be detrimental. So need to take measures for upcoming imminent threat

  • One of the prominent features associated with Glacier is moraines(unsorted material brought by a Glacier through action of plucking,abration and striation deposited in a multiple ways and shapes )features. especially in case of SHIESPER Glacial lake,being a native of Hunza region and as according to my personal observations it is a result of accumulation and coagulation of lateral moraines due to unusual increase in the movement of SHIESPER Glacier compared to adjoining MUCHUHAR Glacier. The recent lake is being created by lateral moraines two Glaciers. Site of the SHIESPER Lack is located at a junction point of these two valley glaciers.
    The question is what is the maximum time period within which SHIESPER Glacial Lake is aspected to start releasing water. Or brusts out suddenly in case.
    In my opinion water will start to drainout from the Lake till the months of June and July .as the climatic conditions of the region is so dry and cold till the month of June. There is a minimal chances of a threshold temperature needed for a melting of ice. Technically SHIESPER LAKE natural levees is made of weathered out rock material. In short we can n call it a massive debris.these natural leeves are accompanied and reinforced by huge chunks of solid my opinion the chances of a sudden brust till the month of April seems April weather conditions may increase force upon the leeves of Lake and water leakage hopefully starts.

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