Pakistan’s frost-ravaged southwest braces for more snowfall

A woman walks during a snowfall in Quetta on January 12, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 20 January 2020

Pakistan’s frost-ravaged southwest braces for more snowfall

  • Record snowfall and torrential rains have killed 105 people across Pakistan
  • Despite authorities’ reassurance, locals continue to fear for their safety

KARACHI: The Pakistan Met Office said on Sunday that more snowfall was expected in parts of cold-ravaged southwestern and upper Pakistan over the next 48 hours, where life is already at a practical standstill due to torrential rain and snow last week. 
At least 105 people were killed and 96 injured by avalanches, landslides and other extreme weather-related incidents around Pakistan, mainly in Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. At least 20 of the dead belonged to the southwestern province. 
Now, new storms are expected in some of the country’s most isolated places in northwestern Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan, according to a handout from the the met office.
The news has left locals, already stricken with extreme cold, in more fear for their lives and safety.
“A new snowstorm will create new difficulties for us who live here,” said Hashim Khan, a resident of Balochistan’s Muslim Bagh-- an area affected by record snowfall. Khan told Arab News by telephone that road access to remote villages was still cut off, and urged those in charge to take immediate measures for the relief of stranded communities.
But the authorities say, this time, they are prepared to weather the storm. 
“Snowfall is expected, but it will not be as heavy as it was last week. We are ready to tackle the situation,” Muhammad Younus, an official of the provincial disaster management authority (PDMA) told Arab News.
Though army troops, paramilitary personnel and workers of the PDMA worked round the clock to carry out relief and rescue operations, many people continue to remain stranded in places where roads could not be cleared out.
Hundreds of passengers were stuck along the Quetta-Zhob highway earlier this week, with most rescued with the help of a local good samaritan, Suleman Khan, who has received hero status for his single-handed efforts to save lives. 
PDMA official Younus said that families still stranded in places with restricted or no access had been provided with a month’s ration of food and necessities. 

7 dead, several missing after mine collapses in Pakistan

Updated 23 February 2020

7 dead, several missing after mine collapses in Pakistan

  • Laborers were working in Buner when they got trapped in the rubble
  • KP chief minister has directed authorities to expedite the search and rescue operations

ISLAMABAD: At least seven laborers were killed and several others went missing after a marble mine collapsed in the Buner district of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Saturday, media reports said.

KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan said he has directed authorities in the area to expedite the search and rescue operations and extract those trapped in the rubble.

“We stand with the affected families in this hour of grief,” CM Khan said in a tweet posted on Sunday.

CM Khan’s special assistant, Riaz Khan, visited the area on Saturday and said that rescuers were working round the clock to expedite the process, adding that those killed and injured in the incident had been moved to the main district hospital in Buner.

Buner is a mountainous district which is adjacent to the Swat valley and famous for its marble mines.