Middle East

Tourists question the tragedy of a blizzard in a scenic Pakistani town

The big picture shows a snow-covered house after a snowstorm. — AFP photo

When an unprecedented snowfall melted at a popular Pakistani mountain resort on Sunday, rescued tourists were found in a frozen traffic jam considering the deaths of 22 fellow travelers. 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, 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 1.5km to where the guesthouse owner took them. “They provided their services, they provided their homes, and they provided their restaurants and hotels free of charge.”

A man passing by a truck parked on the road after a snowstorm on January 7 led to a visitor trapped in a vehicle along the road to the resort hill town of Murry, about 70 km northeast of Islamabad. rice field.

“Natural disasters

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 Muhammad Umar. “No electricity, no gas, no phone, nothing was working.” 11-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. Told.

“Our food was cold and there was no way to go back and forth,” she told AFP. “I started crying and praying.” Many Pakistanis complained on social media that hotel owners pushed up prices and urged them to sleep in their cars to take advantage of their stranded customers. rice field. Arosh said on Saturday that the hotel was “very expensive or out of space” and forced him into a military camp. On Sunday afternoon, rescue operations were transformed into repair and rescue operations, helped by the stable sunshine that blows away 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 published a bitter article on Sunday, 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 Aafia Ali. — AFP

https://www.kuwaittimes.com/tourists-question-blizzard-tragedy-in-scenic-pakistan-town/ Tourists question the tragedy of a blizzard in a scenic Pakistani town

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