At least 45 people lost their lives to the nature’s fury on Tuesday as heavy snow and rainfall continued to batter northern and central parts of the country.
According to unofficial reports, at least 42 people were killed and 68 injured in various parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata). Three rain-related deaths were reported from Balochistan.
However, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) only confirmed the deaths of 24 people, all from K-P while damages to property were reported in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Punjab.
Officials fear the death toll may climb further.
“Due to an early warning, a week ahead of the recent rains, we managed to considerably limit fatalities as people moved to safe places,” said NDMA Chairman Dr Zafar Qadir, adding that the rain was likely to continue for another two days.
The harsh weather wreaked havoc across K-P and Fata – with mud houses collapsed, electric poles yanked out of the ground, communication lines disrupted and roads blocked.
In Peshawar, two sisters were killed when the roof of their house collapsed, while six others were injured in different areas of the provincial capital, a Rescue 1122 official said.
Four people were killed and as many injured after an avalanche hit a village of Buner. One person is still missing after the incident.
Mohmand, Khyber and Bajaur Agencies and other mountainous regions near the Pak-Afghan border were blanketed in snow. Five tribesmen were killed and three injured in Khyber Agency as a result of the harsh weather. A woman died and two men suffered injuries in a roof collapse in Charsadda.
Heavy downpour in Hazara Division killed two people.
Snow blocked the Abbottabad and Nathiagali road, cutting off several villages from the main city. The bodies of two women and a boy were recovered from Darwesh union council. The victims – all from one family – had been swept away in a causeway in Talokar village.
Two children were killed in Swabi and eight others were injured, while around 200 houses collapsed in an Afghan refugee camp in the remote Gandaf area.
In Karak, three women were killed in roof collapse incidents, while in Nowshera, four people died.
In Upper Dir, three security personnel were buried under an avalanche as it hit the Sro Gulono check post in the Bin Shahi area. A woman lost her life in Lakki Marwat. One person was killed and six others were injured in Lower Dir.
In Kohat, a woman was killed in house collapse. Similarly, a woman died and her three children were injured in Mardan.
In Landikotal, a man was killed when the roof of a shop caved in. A minor was killed in Speen Waam, North Waziristan.
An avalanche entrapped five people in Shangla, with two of them losing life and three getting injured.
Peshawar and surrounding areas received 20 millimetres of rain, a Met official said. Rains are expected to continue till Wednesday morning (today) in Peshawar, while Hazara and Malakand could also experience more rainfall.
Director Met Office Mushtaq Ali Shah told The Express Tribune that they were expecting four days of rains. Authorities have been directed to take steps in case of emergencies, he added.
Heavy rainfall and thunderstorms lashed many parts of Balochistan on Tuesday, leaving three people dead.
A man and his son were killed in a landslide triggered by the heavy downpour in the Mandezai area of Zhob district.
According to Levies officials, local resident Muhammad Saleem, along with his son Muhammad Rahim, was travelling by foot near a mountain, when a landslide occurred, killing them instantly.
In another incident, one person died after being struck by lightning in the Gandan area of Surab.
According to the Met Office, temperatures across the province dropped to sub-zero during the day.
The minimum temperature was recorded in Kalat at -7 degrees Celsius. Kalat and its nearby areas also received 10 inches of snowfall.
Meanwhile, floods, caused by the heavy downpour, inundated the Naseerabad, Jaffarabad and Usta Mohammad districts of Sindh.
The third days of rain saw disruptions in civic and commercial life in Rawalpindi and Islamabad and parts of Murree.
The body of a teenage boy who drowned in a swollen drain in Rawalpindi Monday evening was recovered. Raheemullah, 15, was trying to cross the stream on a makeshift bridge, but was swept away by the strong water current.
In Lahore, cold temperatures persisted due to a thunderstorm coupled with high winds on Tuesday. The morning began with thundering noise and high speed winds which continued till late evening. The city also received a hailstorm. The Met Office has predicted the thunderstorm to continue in the city today (Wednesday).
(With reporting by Kamran Khan in Peshawar, Mohammad Zafar in Quetta, Rameez Khan in Lahore and our correspondent in Islamabad)
Published in The Express Tribune, February 6th, 2013.
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