QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal has said that following the recent of spate of heavy rain and snowfall in the province, heavy machinery has been deployed to restore the Quetta-Ziarat, Quetta-Zhob and Quetta-Chaman highways, while relief goods are also being transported to the affected areas.
Talking to the media at the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) offices on Saturday, CM Kamal said, the provincial government is ready to deal with the aftermath of current snowfall and rain in major parts of the province, adding that QESCO, the SSGC, NHA, the deputy commissioners and PDMA have all been directed to be alert.
He added that heavy machinery is being used to remove the snow from highways, which has disconnected Quetta from western parts of the province, but unfortunately the government doesn’t have enough equipment.
Replying to a query regarding casualties due to the harsh weather in the province, the chief minister denied having received any reports regarding human loss but confirmed reports of damage to property in various areas, including Quetta.
“We have directed all MPAs, commissioners and deputy commissioners to continue relief and rescue operations in their districts,” he said, adding that the PDMA has edible items, tents and other emergency relief goods, which are being transported to areas hit by heavy rain and snowfall.
The chief minister also contacted NHA Chairman Jawad Rafique regarding restoration of highways in the province. The official assured the chief minister of full cooperation to resume traffic on the highways.
Sharing his views over the Pakistan-India tension, CM Kamal said, “Pakistan has released the captured Indian pilot as a goodwill gesture but no one should consider it as our weakness as we are capable of defending our border from any incursion.”
Heavy snowfall hits Quetta
Snowfall hit major parts of Balochistan, including the provincial capital, on Saturday, while two people reportedly died in Dalbandin and Pishin due to the torrential rains and flash floods.
Major parts of the province have received torrential rains since Friday evening without any pause, while Quetta, Qilla Abdullah, Qilla Saifullah, Kan Mehtarzai, Khanozai and Ziarat valley were shrouded with snowfall.
The snowfall in the provincial capital started during the early hours of Saturday and lasted for more than three hours, covering the entire area with snow. Despite freezing temperature many citizens took to the streets to capture the atmosphere with their mobile phones.
“We are lucky to see heavy snowfall in Quetta and enjoy the natural beauty of the valley,” said Mehvish, a visitor from Islamabad. A large number of people visited the Metropolitan Garden to enjoy the snow.
However, the heavy snowfall disrupted traffic in Quetta as many vehicles, auto rickshaws, bikes, local buses and heavy vehicles were seen stranded on the roads.
Nasebullah, a pedestrian on Jinnah Road, complained, “The metropolitan or district administration should have been on the streets to clear them but no one is here.”
According to local sources, a man died in Pishin due to roof collapse, while an Afghan refugee drowned during flash floods in Dalbandin.
The provincial government has declared emergency in Qilla Abdullah following heavy rain and snowfall and sought help from the Pakistan Army to open blocked highways..
According to the Meteorological Department, Barkhan, Kalat, Kuhzdar, Turbat, Nokundi, Panjgur, Lasbela, Dalbandin, Pishin, Zhob, Qilla Saifullah, Qilla Abdullah, Gulistan and other parts of Balochistan received heavy rain and snowfall.
Electricity and gas supply problems increased difficulties for people in many districts, including the provincial capital. Gas supply was disrupted in the provincial capital as snowfall started, increasing problems for the citizens, particularly for women and children.