Snow avalanches, stormy rains claim 75 human lives in AJK

MIRPUR (AJK): Jan 14 (APP): The death toll of those buried alive under snow avalanches at various locations in the snow-clad Neelam valley and other upper reaches of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) has risen to 75 besides injuring of 50 others.

AJK government said that the figure of the casualties could rise as the utilities for burial of at least 70 bodies and the food items for over a hundred affected families had been dispatched by the civil authorities with the assistance of the Pak army to the affected areas where relief and rescue operations were in progress.

AJK government sources told APP on Tuesday that the ill-fated persons who lost lives in the catastrophe included 69 in Neelam valley and one each in Kotli, Rawalakot and Sudhanoti districts.

“The AJK government is fully engaged in rescue, relief and rehabilitation process with the assistance of the Pakistan Army in the affected areas especially in the worst calamity-hit Neelam valley in Muzaffarabad division”, said AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan while chairing a high level meeting in the State’s metropolis.

At least 56 houses were totally damaged after they buried under the terrible snow-avalanches.

The prime minister directed the authorities for swift shifting of the homeless people to the safer places.

The AJK government, he said, was utilizing all resources for the early success of relief and rehabilitation operation.

He directed all concerned state-run functionaries to ensure their active participation in relief works to make the rehabilitation of the affected families in minimum possible time.

The prime minister directed the SDMA and the State Highways department for launching the rescue and relief works by restoring traffic on all snow-clad abandoned highways and link roads in Neelam valley.

Earlier SP Neelam valley’s office told APP that at least 49 persons were killed and over 3 dozen were wounded after scores of houses perished in Sarg, Seiri and Sargan Bagwali villages in the valley where the snow avalanches played havoc vanishing the dwellers from the scene.

Muzaffarabad division administration including DIG Police Muhammad Illayas and SP Neelam valley Asif Durrani, besides the Pak Army Jawans and the local administration supervised and participated the rescue operation in the affected areas to recover the missing bodies.

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