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Heavy rain, snowfall claim another 17 lives

Heavy rain, snowfall claim another 17 lives

CHITRAL: Heavy rain and snowfall continued to wreak havoc in different parts of the country on Sunday, claiming 17 more lives and causing widespread damage to houses, roads and other infrastructure.

The bodies of only two of the nine students who were buried alive in snow in Chitral on Saturday could be recovered.

Zila council member Mohammad Yaqub told Dawn on phone that 10 students were going back to their village Parsan after appearing in their matriculation examination at a centre. They were crossing a mountainous stream when an avalanche hit them in Susoom village of Karimabad valley. Only one of them survived to tell the villagers what had happened to the group.

He said the search operation had to be suspended several times because of the continuing snowfall and impending danger of more avalanches. He said the search operation was restarted on Sunday morning after some respite in snowfall and arrival of personnel of Chitral Scouts, Levies and police.

They recovered the bodies of two students, identified as Mubashir Ali and Rahmat Bai, but had to stop their search for other seven after snowfall started again, Mr Yaqub said. He added that the weather was getting better and the search would resume on Monday.

He identified the missing students as Imranuddin, Imran Khan, Ali Shan, Mohammad Ilahi, Faiz Ali, Irshad Ahmed and Wazir Khan. They all belonged to the village of Parsan and were students of the Government High School Susoom.

He said all roads leading to the village had been closed to traffic and people had to walk for three hours to reach there after disembarking from their vehicles in Shoghore.

Chitral Scouts Commandant Col Nizamuddin Shah sent his personnel and supervised the search operation.

Chitral’s Deputy Commissioner Osama Ahmed Warraich told Dawn that he was closely monitoring the operation and had sent one of his officers to the area. He said that Rs300,000 would be paid to the heirs of each dead as compensation.

He said the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Peshawar had decided to open a new examination centre in the Hart village and students would be able to appear in the exam from Monday.

MARDAN: Meanwhile, four members of a family were killed and five others injured when the roof of their house collapsed in Bakhshali area on Sunday during heavy rain.

The dead were indentified as Lal Farosh, 50 (owner of the house), Rahmana, 70, Yasin, 4, and Hamza, 3.

Local people and Rescue 1122 personnel retrieved the bodies and the injured who were taken to DHQ hospital in Mardan.

SHANGLA: Downpour and snowfall continued for the sixth day on Sunday.

The Karakoram Highway and other roads have remained blocked for four days because of landslides. Officials of the Frontier Works Organisation said the highway had been cleared from Dasu to Jijal, but a new landslide in Harban area again blocked the road.

FAISALABAD: Four members of a family were killed when the roof of their house collapsed in Chak No 563-GB following heavy rain in Lundianwala area on Sunday morning.

According to APP, the house was owned by Abdul Ghafoor whose daughter Shakeela, daughter-in-law Shabana and her two daughters Ayesha, 2, and Muqaddas, 4, died.

Rescue 1122 personnel rushed to the place and retrieved the bodies.

MURREE: A torrential rain caused landslides in various areas, damaging a large number of houses and roads. Thirty houses were damaged in Beer Graan-Ghoe village and families were forced to live in the open.

Houses and roads were damaged also in Potha, Sehana, Phagwari, Aloit, Sehrbagla, Masot, Dewal, Phaphril, Mussiyari and several other villages.

A large portion of the Rawalpindi-Murree-Kashmir highway was washed away at Abbasiyaan near Dewal. However, highway officials with the help of heavy machinery managed to develop an alternative track for traffic after two days of hectic work.

The highway was also damaged by a landslide at Ner Goli and work was under way to remove rocks from the road. The highway was damaged also at various other places, including Phagwari, Dehla, Sehrbagla, Fatot and Chama.

The rain also damaged Aliot-Danna Governor House road near Kayaati, Dehla-Ausiya road and Lower Topa-Saen Angoori road.

Punjab Labour and Manpower Minister Raja Ishfaq Sarwar, along with officials of the district and Murree town administration, visited the rain-hit areas. He said that every step would be taken to rehabilitate affected people and compensate them.

LAHORE: Rains which have caused devastation in upper parts of the country over the past 48 hours are likely to stop by Monday morning as the Met department said the weather system causing them would cross the country by then.

“The westerly wave affecting northern areas of the country is likely to move northeastward over the next 12 hours,” said the department on Sunday evening.

“Mainly dry weather is expected in most parts of the country in the next 24 hours. Rain-thundershower is expected at isolated places (few hailstorm also) in Malakand, Hazara divisions, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan tonight,” it said.

This system covered the upper parts of the country on Friday. An earlier one, which was much stronger, caused widespread rains on March 9. Both have claimed 86 lives in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Azad Kashmir and Punjab. About 100 people were injured and 240 houses destroyed, according to the National Disaster Management Authority.

The system now moving out of the country centred mainly over KP, Azad Kashmir and adjacent Punjab, including Murree and Islamabad, and caused disaster and devastation from Friday to Sunday.

The Met department said in its latest forecast that due to expected rains on Sunday night, there could be landslides in Malakand, Hazara divisions, Kashmir and GB over the next 24 hours.

It said that over the past 24 hours, rain-thundershower occurred at isolated places in Malakand, Hazara, Kohat, Sargodha, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Lahore and Sahiwal divisions, Islamabad, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.

Kalam received 15mm of rain, Pattan 14mm, Balakot 10mm, Kohat 9mm, Mirkhani 5mm, Dir, Drosh, Kakul and Lower Dir 2mm each, Kotli 10mm, Rawalakot and Garhidupatta 6mm each, Muzaffarabad 5mm, Jhang 56mm, Sahiwal 37mm, Faisalabad 26mm, Murree 16mm, Layyah 15mm, Okara and Sargodha 14mm each, Islamabad (Saidpur 13mm, Zero-point 11mm,Golra 9mm, Bokra 3mm), Kasur 7mm, Rawalpindi (Shamsabad 6mm, Chaklala 1mm), Lahore Airport 4mm, Lahore city 3mm and Gilgit-Baltistan (Gupis 3mm and Astore 1mm.

Intikhab Hanif from Lahore, Jamal Hoti from Mardan and Abid Abbasi from Murree contributed to the report

Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2016

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