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Page last updated at 10:03 GMT, Friday, 14 May 2010 11:03 UK

Pakistan PM to visit Attabad lake amid flood fears

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Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is set to visit a lake in the north, formed after a landslide and on the verge of breaking its banks.

Officials say thousands of villagers have left the area as waters are rising rapidly. Reports say many homes nearby have already been submerged.

Attabad lake formed when landslides blocked a river in January.

On Thursday army officials said they were continuing efforts to help with draining the swelling lake.

Lt Gen Shaid Niaz said that "spillways" were being dug around the lake as a temporary solution to help water drain from it.

Officials have warned that the danger of the lake overflowing and flooding the area would be highest during the rainy season in June.

At least 36 villages situated downstream on the River Hunza are still considered to be at risk.

Various political parties and local authorities have set up relief camps in the area to cater for villagers who have fled the vicinity of the lake.

Gen Niaz said arrangements were also being made to cover contingencies such as the possibility of flash floods.

Snowstorms

Officials say that parts of the famous Karakoram highway to China could be washed away if the lake's banks burst. A section of the highway is already blocked as a result of the landslides and lake.

Hunza
The area where the landslide took place is remote

The landslide at the village of Attabad, about 30km (18 miles) north-east of the town of Aliabad, occurred during snowstorms in January.

The landslide caused debris to block the River Hunza, which in turn prevented water from flowing downstream and created what is now referred to as Attabad lake.

Over the last four months water has been accumulating in the lake, which is now about 11km (6.8 miles) long. The water is more than 100m (330ft) deep in places.



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