At least 16 stranded snow-tourists die at Pakistan hill station

8/1/2022 2:08:00 PM

At least 16 stranded snow-tourists die at Pakistan hill station

Copy to clipboard https://str.Copy to clipboard https://str.LinkedIn ISLAMABAD: At least 21 people died in an enormous traffic jam caused by tens of thousands of visitors thronging a Pakistani hill town to see unusually heavy snowfall, authorities said Saturday (Jan 8).Copy to clipboard https://str.

sg/wMiE KARACHI, Pakistan (REUTERS) - At least 16 tourists died in freezing temperatures after being stranded in their vehicles in northern Pakistan, where thousands had flocked to enjoy the snow, officials said on Saturday (Jan 8).With some 1,000 vehicles still stranded, the government has declared Murree, 64km north-east of the capital Islamabad, a calamity hit area.As of midnight (1600 GMT) on Friday, 26 people had been taken from the site, of whom 16 had died, the broadcaster said on Saturday."For the first time in 15 to 20 years, such large number of tourists flocked to Murree, which created a big crisis," Pakistan's interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said in a video message.Video shared on social media showed cars packed bumper-to-bumper, with 1m-high piles of snow on their roofs.The minister said that around 1,000 cars were stuck in the hill station, a town elevated from the nearby area, confirming that"16 to 19 deaths have occurred in their cars".The Ministry of Emergency Management dispatched a team to of more than 600 personnel to the scene in Chongqing's Wulong district, CCTV said.Army platoons and paramilitary forces have been deployed to help the civil administration in rescue operations, he said.The blast occured at noon and people having lunch at the time were trapped, state news agency Xinhua said.

Late on Friday, the government announced the closure of all roads leading to the station to stop any further influx of the tourists.The fire department posted a video on its official Weibo page showing orange-clad workers in hard hats climbing through a tangle of cables, bricks and concrete.The Punjab province chief minister's office said Murree had been declared a"disaster area" and urged people to stay away.Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed shock over the"tragic deaths" of the tourists."Have ordered inquiry and putting in place strong regulations to ensure prevention of such tragedies," Khan said in a tweet.The scene of the blast appeared to be in the middle of other buildings and was surrounded by a crowd of bystanders.Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry appealed to people to not visit the hill station."Have ordered inquiry and putting in place strong regulation to ensure prevention of such tragedies.Snowfall, which began on Tuesday night, continued at regular intervals, attracting thousands of tourists.Local authorities have set up an"on-site emergency response headquarters" to direct the rescue work and provide medical treatment, the People's Daily reported.Local authorities have set up an"on-site emergency response headquarters" to direct the rescue work and provide medical treatment, the People's Daily reported.

Due to huge numbers of visitors, many families ended up getting stranded on roads.Local media reported that over 100,000 vehicles entered the hill station.."Gas cylinders have run out and drinking water is not available in most areas - it's either frozen or the water pipes have been damaged due to severe cold.Videos shared on social media showed entire families, including children, lying dead in their snow covered vehicles."Were the deaths caused by cold or carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning?," Dr Faheem Yonus, chief of infectious diseases at the University of Maryland UCH, said in a tweet.our windows have all been blown to pieces"."CO is odourless, lethal if an idling car is buried in snow, the blocked exhaust (silencer) can quickly kill the passengers as they breath CO.Sheikh Rashid said residents had sheltered people trapped in the town and provided blankets and food to those they could reach on the outskirts.Remote video URL.

" Officials have given no word on the causes of the deaths.More On This Topic.

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