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The story of disaster from Pakistan’s Hunza Valley continues.

BACK IN MARCH, MATADOR Abroad intern Heather Carreiro brought us Update: Pakistan’s Karakoram Highway Blocked by Major Landslide. The massive slide piled into a natural dam on the Hunza River, blocking its flow and creating a large lake that stretched seven miles up-valley.

Since then, the lake has been continuously growing and is now ten miles long and beginning to spill over the dam. Below are two aerial photos, courtesy of the NASA Earth Observatory, that show the newborn lake on March 16, and again on May 2.

This thermal emission image renders vegetation red.

Meanwhile, life for the people of the Hunza region is still totally disrupted. The Karakoram Highway, buried by the slide, wasn’t just used by tourists. It’s the only major road in the area, and the closure has meant that thousands of people are now dependent on airlifts for survival goods.

Small boats have been brought in, and bridges are being built, but now the worry is that the dam is on the verge of bursting, resulting in a flood that could be as devastating as the landslide.

Photo:, Zulfiqar Ali Khan & Gulsher Khan

For more photos and info, check out the photo essay at, and don’t miss the excellent coverage from the Pamir Times.



About The Author

Hal Amen

Hal Amen is a managing editor at Matador. His personal travel blog is WayWorded.

  • Christine B.Osborne

    Good Lord! I had no idea. Does this mean the Hunza river no longer flows into the Indus? It cannot be allowed to simply `back up` the valley!! What has Pakistan done
    other than build bridges. The blocked section should have been blown up as the melting snows from the Karakorams will simply keep topping up the lake. I`m appalled! Be grateful to know.

    Thank you.

    Author: Insight and Guide to Pakistan

    • Hal Amen

      Hi Christine,

      I’m not sure what the options were for removing the blockage, but the water’s now begun flowing over it. Several downstream villages/towns have been evacuated, as they think the force of the water could suddenly burst the dam and send a massive “tsunami” downvalley.

      Here’s more info on that:

  • http://decision Adnan Munawar

    please tell me . can i come pakistan to china by road. give me answer its urgent .
    i shall be very thankful to you
    ok bye
    allah hafiz

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