PESHAWAR: At least 42 people were killed and 68 injured on Tuesday as heavy snowfall and rain continued across Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas for the third consecutive day.
The number of casualties rose all through Tuesday as mud houses collapsed and people were found dead beneath piles of rubble. Roads remained blocked and communication was suspended as electric poles were damaged throughout the province.
Peshawar and surrounding areas received 20 millimetres of rainfall which brought the temperature to six degrees centigrade. “The downpour is expected to end by (Wednesday) morning as far as Peshawar is concerned, but in Hazara and Malakand there may be rains for another day,” said Meteorological Department Director Mushtaq Ali Shah.
Shah said the Met Office was expecting four more days of rains in other parts of the province. He added commissioners and deputy commissioners had been informed about the rains earlier in order to manage sewerage systems and evacuate people residing in mud houses.
“Due to bad weather conditions we are unable to receive data from some far-flung stations in the province,” he added.
In Budhu Samar Bagh village, in the suburbs of Peshawar, two sisters, three-year-old Sabiha and six-year-old Hajira died when the roof of their mud house caved in. Their parents and two brothers were injured in the accident.
Two men were reported dead in Buner when an avalanche hit them. Rain water also washed away a car and a motorcycle killing two people, district government officials in the area said. One motorcyclist in Norizai had not been recovered till this report was filed, while a woman was killed and two others were injured when a roof caved in Gandheri area of Tehsil Tangi in Charsadda.
A man was killed and his minor son suffered injuries when their mud house fell in Sara-e-Saleh in Haripur. In a separate incident a 10-year-old girl was electrocuted.
The bodies of two women and a boy of one family, who were swept away on a causeway in Talokar village, Haripur on Monday, were recovered from union council Darwesh. The search for another two family members is underway.
In Swabi, two children were killed and eight people were injured when more than 30 houses collapsed in an Afghan refugee camp in Gandaf, said Assistant Commissioner Muhammad Ali. While in Karak, three women were killed and 15 others, including eight of a family, were injured in roof collapse incidents. Four deaths, including that of a child, were reported by district government officials in Nowshera.
Deaths were also reported in Lakki Marwat, Lower Dir, Kohat, Mardan, Landi Kotal, Khyber Agency and North Waziristan.
Three people of one family were buried by an avalanche in Amnawi Malik Khel, Shangla. According to the district administration official, the family was on its way to Sabo from Malam Jabba when the avalanche hit.
Meanwhile, three security personnel in Upper Dir were buried when an avalanche hit the Sro Gulono check post in Bin Shahi. Rescue work was underway until Tuesday night.
Officials also said water levels of Kabul and Swat rivers had risen and they are on the verge of flooding.
Mohmand, Khyber and parts of Bajaur Agency among other mountainous regions near the Pak-Afghan border were blanketed in snow. More than two feet of snow was seen on the Hindu Kush mountain range as snowfall continued for the second day straight. With additional reporting from our correspondents in all affected areas.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 6th, 2013.