PESHAWAR: At least eight people were reported to have sustained serious injuries, while as many as 12 houses were partially damaged as an ongoing spell of rain and snowfall continued for a third consecutive day in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, hundreds of families have been stranded in hilly valleys of the province, bringing life to a standstill there.
According to a report released by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), two houses were partially damaged in North Waziristan, two in Shangla while one each in Hangu and Upper Dir owing to heavy rains and snow.
At least one house was completely collapsed during the recent rain and snowfall in the province, the report said.
Further, it said that many roads and highways had been blocked in the province owing to landslides or snow avalanches including the Alpuri to Khawazakhela Road, Bahrain-Kalam Road, Malam Jabba Road, Lowari Top Road, Kailash Valley Road, Drosh-Shishkoh Road, Chitral-Garam Chashma Road, Chitral-Booni Road, Chitral City Road, Kalabagh-Nathiagali Road, MNJ-Naran Road and Karakoram Highway (KKH) in Kohistan.
Moreover, local roads in Upper Dir and link roads in Abbottabad and Mansehra districts were also blocked.
The report said that work on clearing clogged roads in Chitral, Upper Dir, the erstwhile federally administered tribal areas (Fata) and Hazara division were underway. Efforts to reopen the Lowari tunnel, blocked by an avalanche, have also been expedited.
The PDMA in the report assured that it was in regular contact with the district administrations of the affected districts. As in other areas, it said that relief goods have also been distributed amongst families affected by rain and snowfall in Bajaur tribal district.
The emergency operations centre of PDMA has been working round the clock to help the people affected by rains, snowfall and land sliding, the report said.
Meanwhile, sources in Chitral said that over a hundred families are stranded in the Garam Chashma and Kailash areas of the district as the link roads have been blocked by avalanches and mudslides. A similar situation exists in the neighbouring Upper Dir district where the Kohistan area is amongst the worst hit in the province.
Similarly, heavy snowfall in South Waziristan, Kurram, Orakzai and Khyber tribal areas reported are also amongst the affected areas where heavy snowfall was recorded.
In the Kaghan valley, the link roads to several areas have been cut off. As a result, people have been confined to their homes and shifting the sick to hospitals in the extreme cold has become extremely difficult.
A former general councillor from Boonjh Ilyas Ahmed said that adjoining Noori area has no dispensary and it has become quite difficult for people to take patients to a doctor.
Little effort has been made by the district administration to clear the roads, he added.
Meanwhile, tourists in large number have thronged Shogran –a scenic spot in Kaghan valley– where around up to four feet of snow has been recorded during the current spell.
WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM ZULFIQAR ALI IN BALAKOT
Published in The Express Tribune, January 16th, 2020.