Pakistan’s standard hill station Murree was declared a calamity-hit space on Saturday after no less than 21 folks, together with 9 youngsters, froze to loss of life of their stranded autos resulting from unprecedented snowfall and rush of vacationers to the picturesque city in Punjab province.
All the routes in Murree in Rawalpindi district had been blocked after hundreds of autos entered town, leaving the vacationers helpless on the roads.
Around 1,000 vehicles had been caught on the hill station whereas the Punjab chief minister Usman Buzdar issued directions for expediting rescue work and offering support to the stranded vacationers, the Dawn newspaper reported.
The Punjab authorities has imposed a state of emergency in hospitals, police stations and administration places of work.
According to an inventory issued by Rescue 1122, no less than 22 folks died, together with 10 youngsters, it stated.
Prime Minister Imran Khan stated he was shocked and upset on the tragic deaths of vacationers on the highway to Murree.
“Unprecedented snowfall & rush of ppl proceeding without checking weather conditions caught district admin unprepared. Have ordered inquiry & putting in place strong regulation to ensure prevention of such tragedies,” Khan stated in a tweet.
The army has been mobilised to clear roads and rescue folks nonetheless trapped, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid stated in a video message. He stated Murree had “seen a huge number of tourists after 15-20 years”, and resulting from that, a disaster came about.
Rashid stated the federal government was pressured to shut the highway from Islamabad to Murree.
The commissioners of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, deputy commissioners, police, are finishing up rescue operations, he stated.
“As many as 1,000 vehicles have been stuck since night […] some have been evacuated; 16-19 deaths took place in cars. The locals provided food and blankets to the stranded people,” Rashid stated.
He stated the authorities would evacuate 1,000 autos by Saturday night, whereas the roads would stay closed to Murree until Sunday at 9 PM.
“We have also decided to ban tourists who are planning to visit Murree. This is not the time to come to Murree,” the minister was quoted as saying by the Geo News.
The Punjab authorities has declared Murree as a calamity-hit space after heavy snowfall wreaked havoc within the metropolis. Taking discover of the chaos and emergency scenario, Punjab Chief Minister Buzdar has directed to open the federal government’s places of work and relaxation homes for the stranded vacationers.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department had predicted heavy snowfall in Murree and Galiyat from January 6 to 9.
Thousands of vacationers, together with ladies and youngsters, have been trapped on the roads within the space since final evening. Officials of the site visitors police, nevertheless, had been making their efforts to revive the circulate of site visitors on the roads.
Taking to Twitter, Rawalpindi deputy commissioner stated, “Around 23,000 vehicles have been evacuated safely from Murree. Around 1,000 are still stranded.” Opposition political leaders criticised the federal government for its dealing with of the inflow of vacationers and insufficient preparation.
Leader of the Opposition within the National Assembly and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif stated he was heartbroken over the tragedy in Murree and questioned who was chargeable for the deaths.
“Where was the government all the while? What arrangements did it make to deal with such an influx? Incompetence is fast turning into criminality. Prior arrangements & round-the-clock supervision were the normal SOPs in the past,” he tweeted.
Terming the deaths heartbreaking, PPP Vice President Sherry Rehman stated governments “needed to be more vigilant about the flood of tourists on the Galiyat routes”.
“Instead of seeking more tourists, the government should have given a warning for jammed roads. These were tragic & avoidable losses that no one intended, but no one acted in time either. Lessons need to be learnt,” she added.
“The job of governments is not only to count tourists but also to make advance arrangements and security measures for them […] These deaths are not due to snowfall but due to government negligence,” tweeted PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz.
A lot of folks had been stranded and flights confronted delays because the rain continued to lash the federal capital and Rawalpindi for the fourth consecutive day on Friday.
Due to steady snowfall and site visitors congestion in Murree, the district administration imposed a ban on the entry of extra autos.
Snowfall, which started on Tuesday evening, continued with common intervals, attracting hundreds of vacationers. However, as a result of rush of holiday makers, many households ended up getting stranded on roads. It has been reported that over 100,000 autos entered the hill station.
In a press release, Chief Traffic Officer Taimoor Khan stated the entry of autos into Murree had been banned from Friday evening onwards and vehicles had been being diverted from toll plazas and different entrances, the Dawn reported.
He stated since snowfall began on Monday morning, greater than 155,000 autos had entered Murree and 135,000 had to this point left.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)