Snowfall, rains disrupt life in Hazara

Three houses collapse in rain-related incidents in Kaghan Valley

Zulfiqar Ali March 03, 2024
Mountainous areas from Galiyat to Gilgit-Baltistan have witnessed a fresh spell of snowfall. PHOTOS: SHABBIR MIR & MOHAMMAD SADAQAT/EXPRESS


Three houses collapsed while two school buildings were partially damaged in snowfall and rain in Kaghan Valley on Saturday, according to Kaghan Development Authority.

It has been raining intermittently in Balakot for the past two days.

According to the KDA, the staff leaves of the authorities have been cancelled and they were ordered to reach the affected areas.

KDA Deputy Director Amin Khan told The Express Tribune that they would extend all possible cooperation to the affected people. The machinery and staff of KDA are there to help and guide tourists and locals. Tourists can visit Shogran and Kaghan to enjoy the sight of snowfall with precautions.

On the other hand, up to two feet of snow has fallen in Naran and adjacent areas and six inches in Shogran, which has increased the severity of the cold.

As per the Meteorological Department, rain and snowfall may continue for the next 24 hours.

Life comes to halt

In the upper and mountainous regions of Hazara division, a relentless series of rain and snowfall persists on Saturday, causing disruptions in daily life.

This phenomenon of rains and snowfall continues into the second day, affecting Abbottabad, Mansehra, Battagram, Kohistan and Torghar districts. The adverse weather conditions have led to widespread electricity outages in most areas, further intensifying the challenges faced by residents.

Read16 children among 29 killed in rain, snowfall spell

In response to the situation, district administrations of the region have taken measures to cope with the situation. During two days of heavy snowfall Kaghan, Naran, and Shugran received more than 3 feet of snow while Galiyat and Thandyani received up to one foot of snow which blocked all sorts of communication links in both districts of snow-hit area.

In district Battagram, Kohistan Karakoram Highway (KKH) was blocked at several places due to land sliding.

Kaghan Development Authority (KDA) Chairman Jamil Ahmad and Director General Sher Khan have issued directives to mobilise staff for snow and landslide clearance operations on key roads, including Shogran in the Kaghan Valley.

The deputy commissioner, in consultation with local authorities, has enforced restrictions on Shogran Road, permitting only vehicles equipped with snow chains and four-wheel drives to traverse the route safely. In light of the increased tourist influx drawn to the snowfall, the Kaghan Development Authority has taken measures to enhance visitor safety. Staff vacations have been revoked, with personnel redeployed to critical locations to assist and guide tourists during the weekend.

With additional input from APP

Published in The Express Tribune, March 3rd, 2024.



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