57 killed due to land-sliding in Neelam Valley of Azad Kashmir

Cheryl Sanders
January 15, 2020

"I have asked the National Disaster Management Authority, the military and all our federal ministers to immediately provide all humanitarian assistance on an emergency footing to the affected people in AJK", Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted.

Avalanches, flooding and harsh winter weather has killed more than 110 people across Pakistan and in neighbouring Afghanistan in recent days, officials said on Tuesday, as authorities struggled to reach people stranded by heavy snowfall.

In Afghanistan, harsh weather conditions led to the death of at least 24 people, according to the ministry for disaster management.

The MET Office has forecast cold and dry weather for most parts of Balochistan for the next 24 hours.

In Kashmir's picturesque but conflict-riven Neelum Valley, heavy snowfall triggered several avalanches, including one that hit a village and killed at least 19 people. Twelve people were also killed in weather-related incidents in Pakistan's eastern Punjab province.

Upper parts of the province Malakand and Hazara divisions received heavy snowfall, leading to the closure of main roads.

So far, about 300 houses have been damaged across Afghanistan because of snowfall, floods and landslides, the agency said.

"A cold snap, heavy snowfall and rains that started two weeks ago have caused damage", he said.

In neighboring India, at least 10 people were killed after several avalanches hit the northern part of Indian-administered Kashmir, Reuters reported.

For past two days the Himalayan region has witnessed heavy snowfall resulting in series of avalanches and landslides.

In 2012, an avalanche engulfed a Pakistani army battalion headquarters near the Indian border, killing at least 124 soldiers and 11 civilians.

Key highways connecting Pakistan and Afghanistan were blocked due to heavy snow, forcing officials to suspend transportation of essential goods into Afghanistan.

The worst-affected provinces in the country include Helmand, Kandahar, Herat and Kabul. In western Herat province, seven people died, including five members of the same family, said Abdul Ahad Walizada, spokesman for the provincial police chief.

Harsh winters often take a heavy toll in mountainous Afghanistan, and the country remains poor despite billions of dollars in aid from the global community.

Other reports by iNewsToday