Floods imperil Pakistani villages

Al Jazeera English
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In northern Pakistan, an artifical lake formed by a landslide in January is now threatening to burst its banks and inundate more than 39 villages in the regions of Hunza and Gilgit.

Officials have evacuated thousands of people this week amid fears a potential burst could affect about 50,000 people downstream and sever a road serving as an important trade link with China.

Over the past few months many villages have been swallowed in the reservoir and stranded people have had to use boats to travel on the icy waters.

Officials hope for a gradual erosion of the blockage once the water starts flowing sometime next week through a canal that army engineers created to drain the lake.

But they have not ruled out a sudden breach that could lead to massive flooding.

Many residents have complained that the government's help came too late.

Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder reports.

[May 22, 2010]

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