Murree: Heavy snowfall kills at least 21, says Fawad Chaudhry

Dozens of people have been killed in heavy snowfall in the mountainous region of Murree in Pakistan's Punjab province, and rescue operations are under way.

Murree: Heavy snowfall kills at least 21 Mountainous Region Pakistan
Murree: Heavy snowfall kills at least 21 Mountainous Region Pakistan 

Authorities say at least 21 tourists have been killed and rescue efforts are under way in the area.

According to the death toll released by Rescue 1122, the death toll so far is 21, including eight members of a family.

A Meteorological Department official told the BBC that there was no snowfall in Murree at the moment but there was a forecast of more rain and snowfall in the next few hours which would continue till tomorrow.

It may be recalled that according to the Meteorological Department, they had predicted heavy snowfall in Murree on January 5.

"It's not possible to handle such a large number of people."

On the other hand, Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry has said that if such a large number of people reach a place in such a short time, it will not be possible for the administration to handle such a large number.

He said the administration had been telling him not to go there for a week, and he would say once again that there was a lot of rush in all the upper areas including Murree at the moment, so people should avoid going there.

Fawad Chaudhry said that Murree Expressway has almost been cleared and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has opened all the routes from Nathia Gali.

It should be noted that Fawad Chaudhry in a tweet a few days ago welcomed the huge increase in the number of people in Murree.

"Nearly one lakh vehicles have entered Murree. Rents of hotels and residences have gone up many times over. This increase in tourism reflects the increase in prosperity and income of the common man," he wrote.

Due to his statement, Fawad Chaudhry was questioned in his press conference. However, he said that when the government says that tourism will increase, it does not mean that millions of people will reach there in 48 hours, because such a system. It will collapse. '

Asked by a journalist, he reiterated his statement that the economic situation in Pakistan has improved and people are welcome to go out for tourism.

However, he said that there is a need to learn from the bigger the incident and move on.

Fawad Chaudhry said that the government is fully alert, the Prime Minister has taken notice of this situation, five platoon of army and machinery of FWO is engaged in relief operations.

Snow emergency declared

Snow emergency declared

Snow emergency declared

According to Pakistan's Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid, several vehicles are still stranded on the road to Murree and the help of FC, Rangers and Army personnel has been sought for rescue operations.

Sheikh Rashid said that the roads leading to Murree from Islamabad and other areas have been closed and only vehicles carrying food and relief items are being allowed to enter.

The Home Minister expressed hope that by Saturday evening Murree and the vehicles and persons stuck in its path would be evacuated but according to him the roads leading to Murree would remain closed till 9 pm on Sunday.

The Punjab government has declared a snow emergency in Murree and the area has been declared a disaster area.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan has expressed regret over the deaths in Murree and ordered an inquiry.

Imran Khan has said in his Twitter message that he is shocked and saddened by the untimely deaths of the tourists who died.

He also wrote that the administration was not ready for this because of the unusual snowfall and the people arriving there without checking the weather.

Status of relief activities

According to Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry, Murree Expressway has been cleared and hundreds of vehicles have been diverted from Murree.

In his tweet, Fawad Chaudhry wrote, "According to Commissioner Murree, due to the tireless efforts of the administration, the Murree Expressway has now been cleared and hundreds of vehicles have been diverted from Murree."

He further wrote that there are more problems in Barian and Guldana areas. Work is underway to rectify the power outage and the situation continues to improve.

On the other hand, according to ISPR, Pakistan Army engineers have reopened Jhika Gali Gharial Road while they are currently busy in reopening Jhika Gali Guldana Road.

The Pakistani military says stranded tourists are being provided temporary accommodation and food at Army Public School Guldana.

According to ISPR, brigade 111 has been sent to open the way to Bhara Kahu and they are also delivering necessary food there.

Due to snow and rain in the tourist destinations of the northern areas, the entry of tourists in Galyat area of ​​Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was announced on Friday afternoon and Murree was also closed for tourists in the evening. ۔

In his video message, Sheikh Rashid said, "Last night the administration of Rawalpindi and Islamabad tried their best and this effort was going on till morning but so many people have come to Murree, Galyat and Barian that we have been in the last 12 hours. Could not clear path from We have closed all the roads leading to Murree but there is a huge number of tourists there.

Referring to the situation, Sheikh Rashid further said, "Therefore, we have decided that we are also seeking the help of the declared Civil Armed Forces so that the people can also be evacuated."

Earlier, it was reported on the Twitter account of Deputy Commissioner Rawalpindi that one thousand vehicles were still stuck in Murree while 23 thousand vehicles had been evacuated.

DSP Murree said in his video message that up to four feet of snow had fallen and dozens of trees had fallen on the road.

The administration is saying that the machinery can work to some extent and we may face severe difficulties due to falling trees.

Police check posts have also been set up to prevent tourists from entering Murree and Galyat.

Tourists trying to reach Galyat from Murree are being stopped and vehicles from other areas are also not being allowed there.

A statement issued by the Provincial Disaster Management Authority said that no untoward incident related to tourists had taken place in Galyat.

It may be recalled that due to heavy snowfall in Galyat, avalanches fell in at least two places on Friday while the condition of the road has become extremely dangerous due to the fall of three electricity poles.

According to officials, the decision was taken to facilitate the return of tourists from Murree and Galyat and to bring the tourists back safely from Murree and Galyat.

At the same time, the authorities have appealed to the people in Murree to cooperate with the traffic police and other authorities, not to park incorrectly, not to take selfies by parking vehicles on the road and to avoid making double lanes.

A government official in Murree told the news Humaira Kanwal that a severe snowstorm had hit Murree last night.

He said that at present the communication situation in Murree is also very bad.
He said that at present the communication situation in Murree is also very bad.

He said that at present the communication situation in Murree is also very bad.

According to the administration, at least one lakh vehicles have entered Murree and Galyat in four days.

According to Ahsan Hameed, spokesman of Galyat Development Authority, due to snowfall, ground conditions are not allowing more tourists to enter Galyat, therefore entry of tourists in Galyat will be restricted till Sunday.

On the other hand, there are reports of large number of tourists arriving in Swat to watch the snowfall.

"Three feet of snow a day"

According to Galyat Development Authority spokesman Ahsan Hameed, the snowfall on Friday was heavy. According to him, Galyat has received three feet of snow in just one day, while during the second spell, the snowfall for four days before Friday was a total of two and a half feet which has destroyed the life system.

He said that the snowfall was so severe that not only the road clearing work was affected but also three electricity poles at the gate from Tauhidabad had fallen and all three were from the main power line. According to officials, WAPDA needs at least 24 hours to repair them.

According to Ahsan Hameed, an avalanche had fallen at one place in Galyat on Friday afternoon and at another place after evening, which has completely blocked the road connecting Abbottabad with Murree. Due to the road has not been able to travel.

According to Murree police, not only that, but a large number of tourists turned to Murree on Friday. According to the police, "the weather conditions are not good at the moment and the road cannot be cleared due to heavy snowfall as two feet of snow has fallen at this time."

According to the police, the vehicles are slippery and many vehicles are parked on the road to which help is being provided, while there are fears of trees and power poles breaking.

According to the Murree administration, it seems that all the hotels and guest houses in Murree are full of tourists, so in such a situation when the weather conditions are not good and there is no place to stay, tourists should not turn to Murree at all. Should.

According to Ahsan Hameed, there is no space in the hotels and guest houses of Galyat and all the hotels and guest houses are full. He said that special assistance was being provided to the tourists who could not find a place at the moment or were stranded on the road as they were apparently unsafe.

'Many times it seems that the day is dark'

Muhammad Abdul Hameed, a resident of Islamabad, had started his journey on Friday morning on his way to Galyat via Abbottabad. He says that when he started his journey from Abbottabad to Galyat on Murree Road, there was a lot of traffic and the journey which should have been completed in one hour could not be completed in three hours.

He said that with this heavy snowfall has completely blocked the road and vehicles are parked on the road, while "many times it seemed as if it was dark during the day".

According to him, many people were stranded on Murree Road till 3 o'clock. After three o'clock, the snow-clearing machine drove us and other vehicles at an ant's speed near Abbottabad.

Agha Naseer, who was trying to escape from Rawalpindi with his friends, said that the four friends had returned to Rawalpindi at around 9 pm after being stranded on the Murree Expressway for several hours. He says if there was to be such a heavy snowfall and so many tourists were to head to Murree, the public should have been informed first.

According to Shahabuddin, a journalist from Swat, snow fell in different parts of Swat on Friday and a large number of tourists are flocking to Swat.

He said that apart from hotels and guest houses, there is a rush of tourists in tourist places.