Severe winter weather affecting Pakistan over the past couple of days has claimed at least 75 lives and injured around 64 people, as of Tuesday, January 14, 2020, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) reports. The death toll is expected to increase as the powerful weather system continues to dump heavy rain and snow on parts of the country.
Downpours in Balochistan have killed 15 lives and injured 15, NDMA added. Furthermore, at least 55 fatalities and 12 others injured have been reported in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. In Neelam valley solely, 19 have died while 10 people are still missing.
NDMA assured that search operations are ongoing to rescue the remaining victims after four people have been successfully rescued.
According to Liaquat Shahwani, spokesperson for Balochistan Government, Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan is personally managing the relief work in the province. In addition, 20 more people have died in the area due to snow-related incidents.
"We are doing everything we can within the resources available to us," Shahwani added, saying that work is underway to restore access to remote areas in the province.
Key roads in Balochistan have been closed in the meantime, including Bolan, Khanozai, and Quetta-Chaman roads. The worst-affected road was at Lowari Approach Road in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which received a massive snowfall of 58.4 cm (23 inches). Lowai Top Road in Chitral was also blocked due to incessant heavy snowfall.
Relief, Disaster, and Civil Defense Secretary Syed Shahid Mohyiddin Qari added that several routes had been blocked as well 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.
The strong weather system hit Balochistan early Saturday morning, January 11, leading to avalanches, landslides, and other rain-related incidents that killed at least 21 by Monday, January 13.
11 of the fatalities were from Kashmir, seven from Punjab, and three from Balochistan.
NDMA's weekly outlook showed that mainly cold and dry weather conditions are expected in most parts of the country on Wednesday, January 15, with very cold conditions in the upper parts and north Balochistan. Furthermore, clouds with light rain and snowfall over hills are forecast in Gilgit Baltistan and Kashmir.
Citizens, as well as tourists, were advised to avoid unnecessary travel in areas vulnerable to risky snow and landslide as the harsh weather condition continues to batter the country.
Quetta, Pakistan deluged in snow today.— Sabena Siddiqi (@sabena_siddiqi) January 13, 2020
Quetta to Karachi route blocked due to heavy snowfall, hundreds of people stranded at Mastung. pic.twitter.com/cKqRcnjSNR
A freezing cold snap has dumped heavy snow in Pakistan, closing roads, cutting off lines of communication and bringing deadly avalanches.#RedCrescent staff and volunteers bring to help stranded motorists. Thank you @PRC_official! pic.twitter.com/NKlDnCiQaR— IFRC Asia Pacific (@IFRCAsiaPacific) January 14, 2020
PRCS volunteers helping people and clearing paths for vehicles. A heavy snowfall had forced the closure of many highways and roads in Baluchistan, AJK and Gilgit Baltistan.#RedCrescent #RedCross #YouthOnTheMove #prcsyouthandvolunteerdepartment pic.twitter.com/RtMyadpkpJ— Pakistan Red Crescent (@PRC_official) January 13, 2020
This is Zarghoon Road Quetta today local administration removing snow to avoid difficulties for the local public good work by @jam_kamal and his associates these operations are going on from Quetta to Ziarat,Pishin,Chaman and Mastung pic.twitter.com/7eLZaYdNg9— Hamid Mir (@HamidMirPAK) January 12, 2020
Featured image credit: Pakistan Red Crescent