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article imageOp-Ed: 'Experts' Fail to Predict the Future of Attabad Lake

By Ernest Dempsey     Jun 5, 2010 in Environment
In four months from its origin, the potentially disastrous situation of Attabad Lake has not been explained in detail with scientific accuracy. Pakistan seems to be in urgent of real experts who can help manage the potential Atatbad Lake disaster.
The potentially dangerous Attabad Lake that formed due to a massive landslide in January this year has busted the expertise of so-called experts in our country. While they keep repeating the clichéd phrases of an impending disaster in case the lake bursts, none so far has confidently stated like a veteran scientists whether or not the lake will burst or even an intelligent guess of what and in what timeframe can become of the lake while its surrounding villages are being evacuated due to the fear of flood in case the collapsed rock material from the landslide yielded to the lake’s pressure.
Searching for expert opinion on the topic, I came across a vague, diffidently written piece of opinion published in The News May 22, 2010. Titled Experts warn of high tidal wave in Hunza, by three persons (their qualifications not specified), this article mentions the possibility of a tidal wave in the Attabad Lake. While not bothering to tell the public what a tidal wave is and how it is produced, let alone how it can be produced in Attabad Lake, this piece beats about the bush, telling about the two main forces that decide the fate of a lake like the one in question. But no mention is made of whether any Pakistani expert has visited and mapped the situation and published any scientific report on it. Apparently, our “experts” are those sitting in air-conditioned offices and appealing to external sources of information. But are geologists and engineers who have no field experience in disaster management the experts at all?
It is important to mention that a real expert in this case, unlike the said article’s claim about geologists and engineers, will be limnologists and disaster studies specialists with extensive field experience. None so far have made any news about the lake. And this again stirs the question of why the government is not funding for the real educational and research needs. We have an ever-impending disaster in the form of a lake that was formed not today but a whole 4 months back. No progress has been made so far regarding this situation by any “expert” from any of our self-proclaimed institutes of advanced research. But no inept institute has been closed so far.
As of now, news posts in online news sources inform that Attabad Lake has stopped expanding upstream. This may be relief only for the time being but Pakistan urgently needs real experts from abroad not only to say something about the lake immediate future with confidence but also to make sure the loss of flood can be kept at a minimum in case the lake does happen to burst.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Atatbad lake, Pakitani geologists, Lake burst, Pakistan lake disaster, Disaster studies
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