At least 30 people were killed on Monday due to heavy rains that wreaked havoc in several areas in Pakistan, with authorities struggling to clear and reopen highways and evacuate people to safer places as an unusually extreme weather system has entered the country.
A top official in Balochistan said that 14 people were killed in the last 24 hours in different parts of Pakistan’s largest province, mainly due to roof collapse amid heavy snowfall, The News International reported.
Emergency officials said that the 11 people were killed in Punjab province, battered by heavy rains, while five others died in the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir areas.
Balochistan Chief Minister Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan said the provincial government was fully activated to open roads and to ensure the provision of all possible help to the people in rain and snow affected areas.
On Sunday, the emergency was declared in Mastung, Qila Abdullah, Kech, Ziarat, Harnai, and Pishin districts of the province due to the heavy snow.
Last year, in August, 27 people were killed and many suffered injuries due to heavy rains that wreaked havoc in several areas in Pakistan’s Sindh.
According to Met Office, cold and dry weather was forecast for most parts of the province including the capital Quetta for the next 24 hours.
Heavy snowfall in Gilgit-Baltistan has broken a 50-year record, while in Quetta it surpassed a 20-year record.
Hundreds of passengers were stranded on different highways linking Balochistan. The official said traffic was also suspended at Quetta-Chaman highway as the Khozak-Pass linking Pakistan with Afghanistan also received heavy snowfall, bringing to halt the Afghan transit trade with hundreds of trucks and other goods vehicles remaining standard on both sides of the border.
“Several people with their vehicles are still waiting for help but unfortunately those areas cannot be reached without a helicopter. I have made a request for the provision of the helicopter to the provincial disaster management authority. Hopefully, it would be provided to us as soon as possible,” said Chagai Deputy Commissioner Fateh Khan Khajjak.
Around two dozen passengers, including women and children, remain trapped in the far-flung Kaachar area close to the Pakistan-Iran border. The official said the army and the personnel of Frontier Corps were making efforts to rescue them.
The new spell of heavy snowfall that started on Saturday night in Quetta continued with small intervals in many other areas of northern Balochistan, according to the Met Office.
The water level in the Dashat and Nehag rivers, as well as other small rivers, has risen after their catchment areas received heavy showers. “There is no sign of danger,” a senior official of the irrigation department Sher Jan Baloch said.
Snowfall is also expected in different parts of the country, besides heavy showers in Islamabad from Monday till Tuesday morning, according to the meteorological department.
(With inputs from agency)