At least 22 people, including 9 children, have died of hypothermia overnight Saturday, January 8, 2022, after heavy snow trapped thousands of vehicles in Pakistan's mountain resort of Murree. The resort, located about 45 km (28 miles) N of the capital Islamabad, recorded more than 1.2 m (4 feet) of fresh snow overnight. More than 23 000 cars were evacuated from the area on Friday.
According to Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, around 1 000 cars were still stuck on the mountain roads on Saturday after tourists flocked to the hill station in large numbers for the first time in 15 to 20 years, creating a big crisis.
Ahmed added that administrations of both Rawalpindi and Islamabad, along with police, had been working to rescue stranded people, along with five platoons of the Pakistan Army, as well as Rangers and Frontier Corps.1
According to a list issued by Rescue 1122, at least 21 people have been found dead, including 9 children.
Officials hope to rescue all stranded people by nightfall.
"God willing, we will rescue 1 000 cars by evening today. We have decided to stop people on foot as well. It is no time for tourists to visit," Dawn said.
More than 23 000 cars were evacuated from the area the night before.
Heavy snowfall is expected to continue through January 9.
— Tehseen Qasim (@Tehseenqasim) January 8, 2022
— DANISH Janjua (@DanishJanjua_) January 8, 2022
Rescue & evacuation process continues in #Murree.
Thanks to our saviours…. pic.twitter.com/XeOu5Jr2uA
— Jawairia (@Jinnah_Club) January 8, 2022
— Afghan Jalebi (@hein_sachi) January 8, 2022
— PTI Doll a Proud Imranist (@pti_doll) January 8, 2022
"It was not snow, and not even heavy snow, it was unprecedented… with 1.2 to 1.5 m (4 – 5 feet) in few hours," Tariq Ullah, an administrative official in nearby Nathia Gali, told AFP.
"I never saw such a huge snowstorm in my life. There were strong winds, uprooted trees, avalanches. People around were terrified, each having his or her own account of suffering."2
1 Murree declared calamity hit after at least 21 freeze to death in cars stranded in snow – Dawn
2 Major roads cleared in Murree as rescue operation continues – AFP
Featured image credit: Tehseen Qasim
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