A new wave of avalanches destroys the Talis Village during the final stage of the reconstruction process following the floods of last summer

Aug 01, 2011
An avalanche of mud and stones engulfed the village ofTalis for the second time in a period of one year. There were no fatalities, but material damage of enormous magnitude occurred. 129 homes have been destroyed and about 50 hectares of wheat have been lost under the mud.
Card image cap

Bilbao, August 1, 2011. Last Saturday day, July 30, 2011 at 4: 30 pm new avalanches of mud and rocks engulfed the village of Talis for the second time.

The phenomenon that took place for the first time in August of last year, has been repeated, but with almost four times more devastating impact. Elders of the area cannot remember anything like it and certainly did not expect the same thing to happen this year. The disaster has resulted in the destruction of 129 houses that are home to about 1,000 people. This is added to the loss of about 50 hectares of wheat that was within a week of being harvested and hundreds of apricot trees and thousands of other trees for use in construction.

After a year of hard work of reconstruction, following the disaster on 07 August 2010 and just one week from its anniversary, the phenomenon was repeated, but with much increased aggression.

Felix Baltistan Fundazioa (FBF) and the local NGO (FIFBM) have worked hard in the reconstruction process of the village of Talis, especially the rebuilding of 35 new homes in a safe zone for families who lost their previous home.

However, the powerful avalanches have swept away another 129 homes and more than 50 hectares of wheat about to be harvested. The impact on the community has been devastating. Given that the Talis community consists of 306 households, it appears that this time the mud has engulfed half of the village.


The Foundation has already delivered emergency kits, blankets and medicines which had been stored at the Foundation’s headquarters in the Hushe Valley for emergencies like this.

Today Monday, the people of Talis have awoken to a situation of extreme distress. With the start of Ramadan, 129 families homeless, no food, water, clothing or animal feed.

At this moment the Foundation, the Local Government and volunteers are using jeeps to bring in supplies from the nearby town of Khaplu.

It is not yet known what has caused this catastrophe, in midsummer, when it has not rained. But this time the town cannot be reconstructed before the evaluation of a much more extensive hazard zone and the production of long-term strategic proposals. The Foundation, FIFBM, the Local Government and the community of Talis will continue the difficult task of relocating the inhabitants of Talis to a secure area of the foothills of the Karakorum range.

At the time of the disaster, families were gathering in the harvest when mosque loudspeakers announced the arrival of avalanches of mud and stones. Constant avalanches of mud were sweeping both banks of the river from 16:30 pm until 12: 00 pm. The local NGO FIFBM (Felix Iñurrategi Fundation Baltistan Machulo) immediately came to the area and began to improvise an emergency camp, with an electric generator. The avalanches cut off the power from the entire Valley.

The Local Government, headed by the Deputy Commissioner of the area with a team of military and other health workers, also gained access to the area and are working with the rehabilitation of the victims in the camps.

Yesterday, Sunday 31 at 6 am, after a night's work placing families affected in the two camps established on both banks of the river, the cessation of avalanches allowed the crossing of the river.

Shamshair Ali, coordinator of the partner Foundation, with a trembling voice, told us over the phone how the younger families with men and women came crying and screaming to the banks of the great channel that the river had left. They all searched in vain for their homes that were under the metres of mud.

In the following pictures you can see the changes Talis has undergone during the first and second catastrophes.


2010: Right side hit 20%, left intact.



2011: Lado derecho afectado al 99% en el lado izquierdo el agua deja al descubierto una casa blanca de Ghulam Mohammad y Amina aparece de pie a orillas del nuevo limite del rio. Los arboles y casas que lo escondían de la primera fila fueron arrastrados por el agua.



2010: Opening of the river, 70 meters left intact.



2011: Opening of the river to 300 meters on the left side (this time to the right of the photograph, as the shot was taken from above) affected 30%.



View from above of the catastrophes of 2010/2011

In order to help and to collaborate with FBF during this process, we have established the following bank accounts:

         BBK: 2095_0000_70_9109159513

        Caja Laboral: 3035_0150_01_1500030669

        Kutxa: 2101_0038_51_0011074747

For more information and to contact the Foundation Fundazioa Euskadi Felix Baltistan:

       Telephone: +34 688 63 12 43

       Telephone: +34 944 02 89 15

        Email 1: komunika@felix-baltistan.org

       Email 2: energia@felix-baltistan.org