Death toll rises to 70 as extreme weather wreaks havoc across Pakistan
KARACHI (Dawn/ANN) - At least 29 people have been injured, says the National Disaster Management Authority.
The death toll from snowfall and rain-related incidents in Pakistan over the last three days rose to 70 while the number of injured is estimated to be 29, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said in an official statement on Tuesday.
An increase in the death toll is anticipated by the authority.
According to NDMA, rains in Balochistan have claimed 15 lives and have injured 11 others. At least 55 deaths and 12 injured have been reported in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
In Neelam valley, 19 people have died in an avalanche while 10 others are still missing. According to NDMA, four injured have been rescued while work is currently under way to rescue the remaining people.
Major thoroughfares in Balochistan, including Bolan Road, Khanozai Road and Quetta-Chaman Road have been closed for the time being, the statement said, adding that the most snowfall recorded in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province was at Lowari Approach Road at a whopping 23 inches.
Mainly cold and dry weather is expected in most parts of the country tomorrow, with very cold in upper parts and north Balochistan, said the authority in its weekly outlook. Cloudy weather with light rain and snowfall over hills is expected in Gilgit Baltistan and Kashmir.
On Monday, avalanches, landslides and other rain-related incidents claimed at least 21 lives and left scores of others injured as most parts of the country remained in the grip of a strong westerly weather system that entered Balochistan in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Eleven of the nearly two dozen deaths were reported from Kashmir, seven from Punjab and three from Balochistan. Meanwhile, Punjab had recorded 14 deaths in rain-related incidents on Sunday.
Relief, Disaster and Civil Defence Secretary Syed Shahid Mohyiddin Qadri told Dawn that heavy snowfall and rains had blocked several arteries in high altitude areas.
"Neelum Valley Road, Leepa Valley Road, Chikar-Bagh Road, Bagh-Lasdana Road, Mehmood Galli-Abbaspur Road and Tain Dhalkot Road were all closed for traffic," he said.
The official advised people, particularly tourists, to avoid unnecessary travel in snowbound and landslide-prone areas during the prevailing weather conditions.