KARACHI: Avalanches and extreme weather have killed at least 73 people in Balochistan and Azad Kashmir.
On Tuesday, 41 people lost their lives in the Neelum Valley of Azad Kashmir when two avalanches hit the area. “Some 10 people are missing in these two incidents,” Saqib Mumtaz, focal person of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), told Arab News, adding that another 14 people have died since Saturday due to extreme weather in the region.
Heavy rains this week triggered landslides in Azad Kashmir’s hilly districts, including the valley areas. Search and rescue efforts are underway.
On Tuesday morning, hundreds of passengers who were traveling through Kan Mehtarzai area of Killa Saifullah district, Balochistan, were finally rescued after three days of being stranded.
An emergency was declared in the most affected districts of the Balochistan province on Sunday. The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) is trying to provide relief to those stuck in snowfall, PDMA director general Imran Zarkoon told Arab News on Monday.
Balochistan government spokesman Liaquat Shahwani told Arab News on Tuesday that 20 people have died in the province due to extreme weather.
Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) warns that heavy rains and snow in northwestern parts of Balochistan may generate flash floods.
The province has recorded the heaviest snowfall in two decades, according to PMD. “Killa Saifullah district has recorded up to four feet snow, whereas Ziarat had 18 inches of snow on Sunday,” PMD official Daud Khan said.
A shallow westerly wave is present over most upper parts of the country, the PMD said in a statement issued on Tuesday, forecasting cold and dry weather in most parts of the country, and very cold in north Balochistan. Rain and snowfall are expected in Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir.