The death toll due to the extreme cold weather conditions in Pakistan has increased to 109 on Thursday, after 15 people, including five soldiers, were killed by avalanches in Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), authorities said.
While 74 deaths were reported from PoK’s Neelum Valley, the worst affected due to heavy snow, the other victims hailed from Balochistan, Punjab and Gilgit-Baltistan, reports Dawn news.
PoK authorities have said that the toll could increase as some areas in the Neelum Valley were still inaccessible due to heavy snowfall, while weather officials forecast another spell of snowfall beginning on Friday.
The five soldiers were killed after being hit by an avalanche in Astore District, Gilgit-Baltistan.
According to a press release issued by the authorities on Wednesday, Gilgit-Baltistan disaster management authority and district administrations have started clearing roads and rehabilitating telecommunication, electricity and other basic infrastructures across the region.
The Gilgit-Rawalpindi section of the Karakorum Highway has been fully restored, while the Frontier Works Organization (FWO) cleared road at four points by removing debris in Patton, Matta Banda of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Tatta Pani in Diamer.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Muzaffarabad on Wednesday, where he received a briefing from the PoK Chief Secretary regarding the damages incurred due to the heavy snowfall, avalanches, landslides and other rain-related incidents in the region as well as the relief efforts undertaken.
He also visited the injured people in hospitals.
Rain-related incidents have also led to the closure of major roads and highways in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, PoK and Balochistan.