19 dead as rain, snowfall continue to pummel parts of country

  • KP province worst hit in terms of loss of life, widespread disruption of communication system
  • Karachi authorities declare ‘rain emergency’ due to ongoing unpredictable weather

ISLAMABAD/PESHAWAR/KARACHI: Heavy rain, coupled with snowfall continued to wreak havoc across the country, especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and coastal areas of Balochistan and claimed least 19 lives, including children and women due to incidents of roof collapse and mudslides in KP province.

In KP, Rescue Director General (DG) Peshawar confirmed that five children, a woman, and a man lost their lives, while five others sustained injuries in rain-related incidents in the Khyber district. Incidents of roof collapse were also reported in Peshawar, Lower Dir, and Bajaur, resulting in the unfortunate loss of human lives and livestock.

The PDMA said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province has been hit by heavy rain and snowfall, leading to widespread disruption and tragic loss of life. Landslides triggered by the weather conditions have disrupted routine life with road closure and power shutdowns.

The provincial capital, Peshawar, experienced intermittent rain, causing flooding in low-lying areas and hindering daily life. Meanwhile, snowfall in the upper regions has led to road closures, further isolating these areas.

According to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), efforts are underway to clear the blocked roads, but continuous snowfall is hampering progress.

In Chatekal area of Swat’s Matta Tehsil, the bodies of four persons, including a woman and her son were recovered while search for three persons continued after 11 members of the same family were buried under the debris of their house collapsed due to a landslide fell from hillside in on Saturday.

The rescue operation is going on for three people buried under the debris.

According to police officials and the administration, heavy rains and snowfall have been continued in the valley for the past three days due to which landside from hillside fell on the house of one Dabal Khan, son of Sherin in village Chatikal. As a result, all 11 members of the family in the house were buried under the debris.

As soon as information spread, the volunteers of Al-Khidmat Foundation, including rescuers, police and local people, rushed to the site on foot despite road closure and started rescue operation. During the operation, the bodies of four people, including Khazna Bibi, wife of Dabal Khan, Zubair, son of Dabal Khan, Jawad, son of Bacha Zada and a minor girl Asma, daughter of Aseel Zada, were recovered while Saliha Bibi, wife of Aseel Zada, her daughter Maryam, Hussain, son of Dabal Khan and Izharullah, son of Aseelzada were rescued.

The Al-Khidmat Foundation volunteers took the injured to Mata Hospital.

According to the police, rescue activities are going on to search for the three other persons buried under the debris, including Khalida, wife of Aseel Zada, Salma, daughter of Aseel Zada and the head of the family, Dabal Khan, son of Sherin.

Due to the night and heavy rain, the relief and rescue operations are facing severe difficulties.

According to locals, the road was blocked due to heavy snowfall and the administration failed to clear despite availability of machinery and other tools.

The PDMA said that Khyber district experienced a third consecutive day of rain and snowfall, causing low-lying areas to be inundated and residents facing considerable difficulties in daily activities.

The adverse weather conditions are not confined to KP alone. From Lahore to Balochistan, Karachi, and the northern mountainous areas, the entire country is grappling with the repercussions of unpredictable weather patterns.

Similarly, heavy rain caused the roof of a house to collapse in Bajaur Gakhi Kundu Mamond, tragically killing three children. Rescue teams responded swiftly and managed to pull the children from the debris, but unfortunately, all three were pronounced dead.

Another incident occurred near Batkhela Khatke graveyard, where a house roof collapsed due to heavy rain. Five people were trapped under the debris, and although rescue teams managed to evacuate them to the hospital, two individuals, a woman and her 5-year-old daughter, succumbed to their injuries.

More cases of roof collapses were reported in Ala Dhand Dheri Saro Koto and Takhtbhai, resulting in the deaths of three women and one child, respectively. Several other individuals sustained injuries in separate incidents.

In Karachi, authorities declared a ‘rain emergency’ due to the ongoing unpredictable weather, while Lahore witnessed light rain in various areas, including Gulberg, Lahore Cantonment, and Mall Road. Other cities in Punjab, such as Kasur, Muridke, Phoolnagar, Sharaqpur, and Jhang, reported downpours, resulting in casualties and property damage.

Due to worst weather condition, scheduled examinations at the Karachi University have been postponed, and evening shift schools are closed. Government and private offices will observe a half-day of duty. To manage the crisis, a rain emergency cell has been established at the Chief Minister’s house which will be operational 24/7.

Tragically, the heavy rains proved fatal for three people in Kamalia where a dilapidated house collapsed. Another incident in Kharan resulted in the loss of three lives, two children among them.  Anticipating a spell of heavy rains in the afternoon, Karachi’s metropolitan city is on high alert. Malir, Airport, Gulshan Hadeed, and Gadap are expected to experience hailstorms, leading the city administration to impose a rain emergency.

Gwadar, already grappling with a dire situation, is now experiencing another spell of heavy rain accompanied by winds and thunder. The drainage system and rescue infrastructure have been severely affected, forcing residents to relocate to safe places. In Sibbi and its adjacent areas, heavy rains persisted for 14 hours, causing a significant increase in the water levels of rivers and canals. The irrigation department has issued a high alert, instructing emergency rescue teams to remain active and ready to counter any unfortunate situation.

Northern mountainous areas, including Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), reported intermittent rain and snowfall, raising concerns about highway blockades due to snow and landslides.

As the country grapples with these unprecedented weather conditions, citizens are advised to exercise caution. Emergency services are on high alert, ready to respond to any untoward situation, as the nation unites to face the challenges posed by this severe weather onslaught.

Army launches rescue operation in KP areas

Rescue operations are currently underway by the Pakistan Army following heavy snowfall in the areas around Lowari Tunnel, Kalam, Chitral, and Malam Jabba.

The army’s rescue teams remained active throughout the night, clearing snow from the roads and rescuing travellers trapped in snow-affected areas. Moreover, essential supplies and medicines were being provided from nearby army camps.

Over the past few days, the rescue teams have actively worked to reopen roads affected by heavy snowfall.

The army, in collaboration with district administration, has been using heavy machinery to address urgent situations.

Efforts by the army to completely restore access to all roads affected by severe snowfall will persist until full recovery is achieved.

Rain with snowfall pummeled up and down the country on Friday, from the foots of Himalaya and Karakoram to the coast of the Arabian Sea, unleashing floods in some coastal towns in Balochistan and disrupting daily life in the plains of Sindh and Punjab.

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Saleem Jadoon
Saleem Jadoon
News Editor at Pakistan Today

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