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15

Jun

Atta Abad Landslide disaster & Relief in Pakistan

The Atta Abad landslide in Gilgit-Baltistan (Pakistan) in January 2010 had gone un-noticed and the kind of efforts in managing that disaster, had that disaster taken place in Lahore or Islamabad, were never put in that region. While the slow pace of work continued, the lake behind the landslide which was blocking the Hunza River continued to grow submerging numerous villages and endangering communities downstream should the dam breach.

In an effort to bring this disaster to the public’s top of mind and to try present a clearer picture (literally) of what had happened in the region, I made an appeal to the Google Earth team to help with some current satellite imagery of the disaster area, thinking that maybe images would jolt our government and disaster managers into taking swifter action and rally public support for relief activities in the area.

Those efforts yielded results, NASA released imagery, immediately followed by Google.

A friend of mine and I (we both are contributors to Google Map Maker) set out to make information about that disaster more transparent and publicly available. Meanwhile, a few international organizations started supporting our effort and helped us with the data they had collected.

The result is the Hunza Landslide Relief Support website which brings together maps, photos, locations of sunk villages, IDP camps, hospitals, bridges submerged or at risk and other related info from other organizations all in one place. You will be able to see what the size of this enormous lake really is and see the communities it has affected.

This note is an effort again to highlight the magnitude of this disaster and bring these forgotten peoples plight to our minds. Your few minutes spent on this site looking at the photos  (click the Panoramio link), videos, seeing how the lake grew (various links on the page) and submerged farmlands and houses and learning about the disaster and its effects in general, would be of great help.

This effort was noticed and supported by the people at Google.org and Google gave our site some coverage on their official blog here :)

Oh, and since Telenor’s network has EDGE internet in and around the Hunza valley, one of their USB EDGE sticks (courtesy of their CSR) is helping with the gathering and dissemination of daily updates from the region.

Take a look, here’s the site: Hunza Landslide Relief Support