Middle East

At least 21 people were killed in a vehicle caught in a snowstorm in Pakistan

At least 21 people were killed in heavy traffic, as tens of thousands of visitors rushed to the hill town of Pakistan to see the extraordinary heavy snow, officials said.

Police reported that at least six people were frozen dead in the car, but it was not immediately clear if others were suffocated after inhaling smoke into the snowman.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid said the army had cleared the road and mobilized to rescue thousands of people still trapped near Murrie, about 70 km (45 miles) northeast of the capital Islamabad.

A video shared on social media showed that the car was stuffed from bumper to bumper and the roof was covered with 1 meter (3 feet) of snow.

“People are facing a terrible situation,” Usman Abbasi, a tourist stuck in a town where heavy snow is still falling, told AFP on the phone.

For days, Pakistan’s social media has 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.

The Prime Minister’s Office in Punjab said Marie had been declared a “disaster area” and urged people to stay away.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was shocked and upset by the tragedy.

“Unprecedented snowfall and a surge in ppl going on without checking weather conditions made district managers unprepared,” he tweeted.

“To ensure the prevention of such tragedy, we ordered an investigation and implemented strong regulations.”

-Traffic warning-

Authorities warned last weekend that too many vehicles were about to enter Marie, but it couldn’t discourage hordes of day trips from the capital.

“It faces serious problems not only for tourists, but also for locals,” tourist Abbasi told AFP.

“The gas cylinders are gone and drinking water is no longer available in most areas. The water pipes are damaged due to freezing or severe cold.”

He said the hotels in the town were short of food and the mobile phone service was mottled.

There are about 30,000 towns beside steep hills and valleys, with narrow roads that are often clogged even on sunny days.

According to Sheikh Rashid, the inhabitants protected the people trapped in the town and provided blankets and food to those within reach in the suburbs.

Authorities said schools and government buildings have accepted people who can reach the town from clogged roads.

A helicopter was also waiting in case the weather was fine.

Pakistan’s rescue team, Rescue 1122, has released a list of 21 names who said they had been confirmed dead.

It included a policeman, his wife, and their six children.

Hasaan Khawar, a spokesman for the Punjab state government, said he was frozen dead in a trapped car.

Last updated: January 08, 2022 02:10 PM

http://www.gulf-times.com/story/707602/At-least-21-die-in-vehicles-trapped-by-Pakistan-sn At least 21 people were killed in a vehicle caught in a snowstorm in Pakistan

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