Army rescue teams cleared a route around a Pakistani hill town yesterday, protecting thousands of tourists after 22 people were killed in a vehicle trapped in heavy snow.
About 70km northeast of Islamabad, the resort town of Murry was flooded with tourists and day trips last week after the extraordinary heavy snow turned into a winter wonderland.
However, snowstorms since Friday have cut down trees and blocked narrow roads to and from the town. This road sticks to steep hills and valleys at an altitude of 2,300 m.
“It wasn’t snow, it wasn’t heavy snow. It was an unprecedented 4-5 feet in a few hours,” Tariq Ullah, a nearby Natsia Gali administrator, told AFP yesterday.
“(I) have never seen such a big snowstorm in my life. There were strong winds, uprooted trees, avalanches. People around me were frightened and each explained their own suffering. I had it. “
By Friday, nearly 100,000 visitors had hit the town in thousands of vehicles, causing huge traffic jams even before a snowstorm, officials said. They said 22 people died in a car trapped in snow on Friday night — carbon monoxide poisoning from exhaust fumes produced by drivers driving the engine to keep it cold or warm. either.
They included 10 children — 6 died with their mother, father and senior police officer.
“We switch on the heater and go to sleep,” Dawn said on his last call to his son in the capital, citing Deputy Inspector Naved Ikubal.
He was buried with his family late Saturday at a ceremony attended by hundreds of police officers.
A stable stream of people driving and walking from Kuldana, which was hit hard near Murree yesterday, was on their way.
Many vehicles were stuck on the side of the road, the hood opened, drained the battery during the trial, activated the heater, and then waited for the jump start.
There was a pile of garbage where the car spent a cold night.
Prime Minister Imran Khan was shocked and upset by the tragedy, but said the unprecedented snowfall and flood of people “caught an unprepared district administrator.”
However, several Pakistani newspapers infuriated managers yesterday, pointing out that the national meteorological bureau warned that a snowstorm was approaching on January 6 at the earliest.
“All authorities are especially advised to maintain’ALERT’during the forecast period,” the National Weather Forecast Center said Thursday, “heavy snow” could cause road closures in Marie and elsewhere. I added that there is sex.
Authorities have promised an investigation.
“Our top priority was rescue, which was continuous, then rescue,” Punjab state government spokesman Hasarn Kawal said in a video on Twitter yesterday.
“Then, high-level investigations will be initiated and, in the event of any negligence, action will be taken against all involved.”
A Pakistani military spokesman said he had pulled all survivors out of a car trapped along the route to Marie and took them to a shelter set up in the town.
More than 1,000 abandoned vehicles along the route hampered bulldozer efforts to remove snow from the road, it said, and in some areas the military used shovels.
Until the weekend, Pakistan’s social media featured photos and videos of people playing in the snow around Marie, a picturesque resort town built by the British in the 19th century as a colonial sanatorium. It was full.
Authorities warned as early as last weekend that too many cars were about to enter the town, but still couldn’t discourage hordes of day trips from the capital.
Many Pakistanis complained yesterday on social media that Marie’s hoteliers and guesthouse owners exacerbated the problem with price cuts, encouraging stranded people to spend the night in the car instead of paying for the room. Said.
“The situation would have been different if the locals and the hotel had worked together, but Marie’s locals’ reputation and behavior are very bad in this regard,” a senior government official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
However, there were reports that locals were opening their homes to stranded tourists and providing food and blankets to those caught outdoors.
Tourists question how to respond to unfolding disasters
When an unprecedented snowfall melted at a popular Pakistani mountain resort yesterday, rescued tourists were found in light of the deaths of 22 fellow travelers in a frozen traffic jam.
18-year-old Duaa Kashif Ali, a tourist from Islamabad, said:
“The locals helped us,” she told AFP after she came out of the guesthouse and waited for the worst snowstorm Marie witnessed in decades.
The mountain perch, 70 km northeast of Islamabad, has long been popular with tourists flocking to see the fresh snow-studded landscape this week.
Since Friday, when the blizzard snowed four feet (1.2 meters), the road was crowded with traffic from about 100,000 visitors.
Stuck overnight in a car, 22 people died of exhaust gas colds and carbon monoxide poisoning. Among them were 10 children.
“The people here were literally crying … when they heard,” recalled 47-year-old tourist Kasif Ishak. As he said, a huge heavy equipment convoy cleared the ice-bitten road behind him and completed two days of snow-covered isolation for the Rattigari satellite village.
Ishak arrived here on Friday night with his daughter Dua Kasif Ali.
Together with 13 other family members and friends, they abandoned three stranded cars and hiked 1.5 km (1 mile) to where the guesthouse owner took them.
“The locals really helped us,” Ishaq said.
“They provided their services, they provided their homes, and they provided their restaurants and hotels free of charge.”
In nearby Kurdana, about 5,000 people were accepted by the Army Logistics Department on Friday night.
“It was like a natural disaster,” said Major Mohammed Umar. “There was no electricity, no gas, no phone, nothing was working.”
Eleven-year-old Arosh Yasir said he was rescued the next morning after warming up with his family in a gas fire and spending the night in the car on Friday.
“Our food was cold and there was no way to go back and forth,” she told AFP.
“I cried and started praying.”
Many Pakistanis complained on social media that hotel owners pushed up prices to take advantage of stranded customers and urged them to sleep in their cars.
Arosh said on Saturday that the hotel was “very expensive or out of space” and forced him into a military camp. Rescue operations turned primarily into repair and rescue operations yesterday afternoon, helped by the stable sunshine that blew off the snowdrifts. Workers climbed the pylon on the hillside and knocked on free frozen wires, while others swarmed around the hood of an open car and tried to restore the engine to its original state.
Some vehicles were still left under a vast snowman, forcing the plow to slalom an unstable mountain road.
Inside the clear spots in the ice, there are empty water bottles and small scatters of snack food packages, indicating where many tourists spent their time driving on Friday night.
“That was my worst experience,” said 21-year-old Arfia Ali, a visitor from Karachi at a party evacuating to Rattigari.
Several Pakistani newspapers released a bitter article yesterday, attacking authorities for not closing the area despite sufficient warnings of heavy snowfall.
That feeling was shared among those preparing to leave the mountain.
“Administrators of this area, they are responsible for this,” said Afia Ali.
http://www.gulf-times.com/story/707709/Pak-hill-station-roads-cleared-after-tragedy After the tragedy, the road in the summer resort was closed.