Rescue centres, Control Division established at Murree amid increased relief efforts: ISPR

Pakistan Armed Forces conduct rescue, relief operation in Gwadar, Murree

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RAWALPINDI, The Pakistan Army on Saturday established Control Division alongwith rescue centres at APS and Army School of Logistics Kuldana at Murree Division amid increased relief efforts for evacuating tourists stuck due to heavy snowfall.

The Army troops have provided cooked food and POL to the affected people, whereas camps have been provided to the tourists with heating arrangements, said an Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) news release.

It added that heavy machinery from Murree, Army engineers Division and Frontier Works Organization (FWO) were working without any pause to assist the people stuck in Murree.

The ISPR further informed that the troops were out in the field and moved to the areas inaccessible to machinery and were clearing traffic and opening the roads.

Pakistan Army, Navy and Frontier Corps are busy in rescue and relief efforts in Gwadar district where the coastal belt was hit by heavy rainfalls.

At least 20 tourists stranded in their vehicles succumbed to the extreme weather during a snowstorm in Murree on Friday night, said Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid on Saturday.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was ‘shocked’ and ‘upset’ by the tragedy in Murree as he ordered an inquiry into the incident.

“Unprecedented snowfall & rush of ppl proceeding without checking weather conditions caught district admin unprepared,” the premier stated.

The PM said he had ordered an inquiry into the incident and was “putting in place strong regulation to ensure prevention of such tragedies”.

According to the minister who arrived in Murree to monitor the rescue operation, hundreds of vehicles were stranded in Murree whereas over 23,000 vehicles have been rescued.

The interior minister said at least all vehicles have been rescued in Guliyat, whereas the vehicles in the Guldana region are still stranded that would be rescued soon. All types of traffic entering Murree from Rawalpindi and Islamabad has been banned till the end of the rescue operations, he added.

The minister said heavy machinery has been called in to clear the roads and the help of the civil armed forces and the military has been sought to rescue the stranded tourists. The authorities have decided to use helicopters for rescue operations as well after the weather clears, he added.

According to ISPR, special relief efforts are being undertaken in isolated villages of Kulanch, Sardasht and Sunstar valleys.

The Gwadar old town also remained focus of dewatering operation, where the Army, FC and Pakistan Coast Guards have established medical camps and are distributing rations to flood victims.

A Pakistan Air Force C-130 sorties loaded with rations and clothing have also been flown to assist population of Pasni. Meanwhile, On the directions of Prime Minister Imran Khan, National Disaster Management Authority has dispatched relief supplies to the areas affected by recent rains in Balochistan.

According to NDMA, relief supplies including drainage pumps, tents, blankets and ration bags have been sent through C-130 aircraft of PAF.

The NDMA is also in touch with provincial authorities and Provincial Disaster Management Authority of Balochistan.

The troops of Pakistan Army and FC are already engaged in relief activities in the affected areas.

Meanwhile, Chairman NDMA, Lieutenant General Akhtar Nawaz also held telephonic conversation with the Governor and Chief Minister of Balochistan on the situation arising out of recent rains and snowfall and requirements of the affected population.

 

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