QUETTA: Heavy snowfall and rain claimed at least 14 lives, cutting Balochistan with rest of the country road communication system badly affected, national highways lining Quetta with other provinces blocked and hundreds vehicles including passenger coaches stranded in different mountainous areas while power and gas supply was suspended in Provincial capital Quetta and other areas, on Sunday.
All Quetta bound flights were cancelled by PIA and private airlines. No flight could reach Quetta as runway was covered heavy snow. Air craft reached last night from Saudi Arabia with passenger also stranded at Quetta airport and could not fly. The heavy snowfall IN Quetta has broken 20 years record, Met officials said.
The new spell of heavy snowfall started on Saturday night in Quetta that continued through the day with small interval while Met office predicted more snowfall in next 24 hours. Heavy snowfall was also continued in Ziarat, Kan Mehtarzai, Muslim Bagh, Sanjavi, Khanozai, Zhob, Qila Saifullah, Qila Abdullah, Kalat, Mastung, Harboi, Surab, Khuzdar and many other areas of northern Balochistan.
Official sources said that army and personnel of Frontier corps reached in many areas where continuous heavy snowfall worsens the situation and started rescue and relief operation with workers of Provincial Disaster Management Authorities and local administration at National highways have been blocked and large number of various, including passenger coaches struck up at different points due to road blockage.
Hundreds of passengers, including women and children were stranded at different highways coming from Punjab, Khyber Pukhtoonkhawa and Sindh. The passengers struck up in Kan Mehtarzai area were rescued by army and FC personnel opening road after removing snow from the highway.
PDMA officials and workers provided food, water and blankets to the passenger. Around two dozen people, including women and children travelling in four vehicles trapped in far flung area of Kachar of Mashkel tehsil closed to Pak-Iran border. FC and levies personnel reached in the area making efforts to rescue the women and children.
The deputy commissioners of different districts and regional transport authorities asked to people and transporters to cancel their journey programme on Quetta-Karachi highway as roads were blocked at various points due to heavy snowfall in Kalat, Mastung, Surab, Zehri and many other area. Quetta-Karachi highway also blocked at Luck-pass area. Quetta-Sibi highway was closed between Kolpur and Mach as the area receiving heavy snowfall.
Official sources said that traffic was also suspended at Quetta-Chaman highway as Khozak-pass linking Pakistan with Afghanistan also received heavy snowfall has also halt Afghan transit trade and hundreds of trucks and other vehicle standard at both sides of Pak-Afghan border.
Reports reaching here say that large number of mud houses were collapsed and damaged in different areas of northern Balochistan due to continuous snowfall that claimed human lives border town Chaman, Barshor and Bostan area of Pishin district. Six people including three women and three children have been killed and two others injured in a roof collapsing incident took place in village Shahabzai area of Zhob district due to heavy snowfall.
In another snowfall incident five people of a family including women and children were killed and six other people injured when the roof of a mud house collapsed in Killi Luqman at Pakistan Afghan border in Chaman late evening during engagement ceremony. Two children were killed and two other injured when the roof of the room caved-in in Killi Chukal area of Pishin district while another woman also lost her life in a same nature incident. Hospital sources said that over dozen people in injured in snowfall related traffic incidents were brought in civil hospital Quetta for treatment.
Heavy rains were also reported in Makran division that fills up Mirani, Shadi Kur and Akra Kur, Sward and Bilar dams in Gwadar and Kech districts. The seasonal rivers, Dashat, Nehag and other small rivers were carrying huge flood water as the catchment areas of these rivers have received heavy rains. However, the senior official of the Irrigation Department Sher Jan Baloch said, “There is no sign of danger.”
He said that there are reports that a small dam was broken in Mand area of Kech district which damaged mud houses. However, no human loss is reported. The spillways of the dams were opened to release extra flood water after filling all the dams in the area.