The impending disaster, God forbid, if the Attabad lake blockage breaks, clearly has been created by the incompetence and criminal negligence of the concerned government authorities, namely Ministry of Water and Power (MW&P), WAPDA, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), local administration etc. The massive landslide occurred in early January. This had been predicted by the Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP), and letters written to all concerned departments. Unfortunately no heed was paid or corrective action taken. When the blockage occurred, the river flows were at a minimum level and the blockage could have been lowered down to a manageable level, or even removed, using heavy earthmoving equipment, blasting or controlled demolition. As this was not done, the lake has risen to about 300ft over the past five months, thus creating a massive reservoir stretching back about 20kms. The volume of water held up is a calamity waiting to happen. And, God forbid, if and when the blockage is breached, as is now being cautioned, it will create a 200ft or so high massive wave which will demolish everything in its path up to Tarbela Lake. Nearly 200kms of KKH will be washed away, alongwith bridges, villages, orchards and everything in the narrow valleys. The crucial concern now is, whether WAPDA and MW&P have put in place a disaster response system at Tarbela Dam, and what is the response mechanism and standard operational procedures. Does it cater for spillway monitoring and management, is there any precautionary measure to check and stop debris and silt from entering the tunnels and turbines, has a study been done to calculate the volume of water, as well as silt or debris, and its effects on the dam structures and the surrounding hills? The other matters, which should have been addressed and resolved are: > Volume of water held-up in million acre feet in Attabad Lake. > Volume and weight of the silt expected to be dumped in Tarbela Lake. > In an event of a breach of Attabad temporary spillway or dam, height and force of crest wave. > Disaster management plan for Tarbela spillway, dam structures, tunnels, turbines, powerhouse, etc. > Dynamic simulation of 200ft crest hitting Tarbela Lake and expected effects. > Length and portions of KKH and populated areas expected to be washed away in a breach. > Long-term effects of additional silt or debris in billions of tons per year (average is 200mt/year) expected to be dumped in Tarbela Lake. The possibility of potential damage to the Tarbela powerhouse and turbines needs to be considered. There is a probability that silt could enter the turbine intake resulting in serious damage. Whereas the 100kms long Tarbela Lake has the capacity to take in a very large water inrush, including the high crest wave that is expected, some silt could reach the powerhouse intake due to the high concentration in the water. It is essential that requisite studies for such a scenario be undertaken on an urgent basis under a worst case scenario to avoid any potential of damage to the Tarbela powerhouse and turbines. The Tarbela powerhouse produces 3478MW of hydel power at peak flows and any damage or reduction in generation in the coming months would be disastrous in the current crisis. The question, which the people expect to be answered, is why such an impending disaster situation has been created? Who is responsible for such criminal negligence? And what actions will be taken by the government against the officials of NDMA, MW&P, WAPDA and other organisations? The people of Pakistan and the unfortunate effectees of Hunza want answers and redeeming actions. Their lives and livelihoods have been devastated. Meanwhile, we can only pray that Almighty Allah once again saves us in spite of our follies from a disaster and a breach does not occur. Whatever the outcome in the next few days, the land, the environment, the population, the orchards, the livelihood of Hunza has been irreversibly devastated. Will any heads roll, or this will be yet another opportunity for huge kickbacks and corruption in the rebuilding contracts to follow? The writer is former MD PEPCO and MD SSGC.