MUZAFFARABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday visited Azad Jammu Kashmir to take stock of the situation after the disastrous avalanches struck Neelum Valley, claiming 69 lives and injuring over 9o, bringing the countrywide death toll to 100.
The prime minister also visited the injured at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Muzaffarabad.
Prime Minister @ImranKhanPTI visited Muzaffarabad AJK today.
— Prime Minister’s Office, Pakistan (@PakPMO) January 15, 2020
According to Neelum Valley Deputy Commissioner Raja Shahid Mehmood, the deaths were reported from villages in the mountainous areas of Dhakki and Chaknar located along the Line of Control.
Further, two more deaths were reported in Gilgit-Baltistan after a two-year-old boy and a young girl were killed in an avalanche, said the provincial disaster management authority, adding that three others were also injured after a house collapsed.
In addition, at least 80 livestock animals were killed in a similar incident, the authority said.
Meanwhile, relief and rescue efforts are currently underway in Neelum Valley. On the directives of the prime minister, helicopters will distribute rations, blankets, medicines and other supplies to residents of the valley on Wednesday, officials said.
In Balochistan, the death toll remained at 20 that includes 12 women and seven children. The injured, around two dozen, reside in the districts of Quetta, Pishin, Zhob, Kech, Killa Abdullah and Mastung.
“In district Kech, 499 boundary walls of various houses got completely along with 148 mud houses completely damaged and 341 got partially damaged and a bridge was also smashed in the district. A water supply mainly dam also got damaged in district Killa Abdullah.
Moreover, 22 mud houses were completely destroyed in district Kalat, with 51 partially damaged whereas livestock losses reported 20 goats and nine sheep perished due to heavy snowfall in the area,” said the authority.
Work is also underway in the province to restore road operations. Officials said that the Quetta-Karachi highway and the Quetta-Iran highway have been opened for light traffic for the time being.
A statement issued by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on Tuesday feared an increase in the number of deaths due to unfavourable weather conditions.
As reports of deaths continue to pour in from across the country, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that he had instructed the NDMA, military and federal ministers to provide assistance to the people of AJK on an emergency footing.
This was followed by a statement by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), which said that the army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, had directed for continued assistance to the civil administration for rescue and relief operations.
“Army helicopters are undertaking operations in snow hit areas of Sharda, Sargan, Bakwal and Taobat,” said the ISPR, adding that Pakistan Army Urban Search & Rescue teams are evacuating the stranded population. The ISPR said that doctors, paramedics, tents, rations, blankets, and medicines are being provided to the affected families.
MET OFFICE ISSUES WARNING:
The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) had issued warnings of flash floods and heavy snowfall for some districts of Balochistan which may cause the closure of roads. It has also warned of landslides and avalanches in Kashmir, GB, Malakand and Hazara divisions.