21 people died in Murree. Hill station declared calamity hit, Army troops deployed.
At least 21 people died of cold after they were stranded in their cars during the snowstorm in Murree Friday night, according to Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed.
The hill station was crowded after tourists headed there to witness snowfall. Last night, the government imposed a ban on the entry of tourists in Murree and Galiyat region. They won’t be allowed to go beyond Satra Meel Toll Plaza, Rasheed said, except in the case of extreme emergency.
On Saturday, the minister revealed that, so far, 23,000 cars have been brought back, while an operation is underway to rescue 1,000 cars trapped in the snow. Heavy machinery has been called in to clear the roads as well.
According to reports, this week, nearly 100,000 vehicles entered Murree.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people spent Friday night on the roads. Residents have been out on the streets distributing warms clothes, blankets, and food to stranded tourists.
The government has decided to seek “undeclared” help from civil-armed forces to evacuate the tourists from the area as well. Rasheed said that this is the first time in 15 to 20 years that such an influx of tourists was seen in Murree.
In an interview with SAMAA TV, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the situation is not only dire in Murree but also in several other neighboring areas.
He urged people to “use common sense” and stay at home. “Buy snow sprays instead of going out.”
Murree declared calamity hit
On Saturday, the Punjab government declared the hill station calamity hit. All rescue services have been instructed to increase the pace of operations and deploy all their forces in the region.
Authorities have requested people to cooperate with the government until and unless the situation clears. Tourists in hotels have been told to extend their stays to prevent further traffic.
n a statement, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said that rescuing stranded tourists was the “foremost priority”.
The interior minister has, on the other hand, has said all the guest houses in the areas have been opened and people have been allowed to stay there free of cost. “If you’re stuck, call 1199 as soon as possible.”
Fear of hypothermia and frostbites
On Saturday, SAMAA TV’s Sadaqat Ali reported 21 people, a family and a group of friends, were found dead in four cars near the Kaldana Road in Murree. They froze to death.
The deceased included an Islamabad police officer and his family. A 12-year-old girl and her mother were among the dead as well.
Javed Akram, a health expert, said that it’s likely they were suffering from hypothermia. This happens when the temperature of the body drops below 28 degrees. Due to immense cold, the vessels of the body contract disrupting the flow of blood.
Here are some ways you can protect yourself from hypothermia:
- Wear warm clothes – a lot of layers.
- Use heater if inside cars but when temperatures drop below the freezing point that doesn’t work. Instead, get out of cars and seek comfort in a warm place. Use fire.
- Don’t sleep with the heater on in your car.
- Be well-prepared if you’re on the roads. Fill up your fuel tanks.
- For locals, these people are usually well-prepared. Its best residents keep themselves active. When you stay in one place, chances of frostbites increase.
- Emergency centres very important. Distribute hot water bottles to people trapped. If you feel someone is losing consciousness due to hypothermia, keep a hot water bottle under their arms or on the groin.
- Don’t travel after sunset.
- Keep separate blankets.
- Don’t take young children or elders to such areas. It can result in paralysis, heart attack, and high blood pressure. People who have sugar or asthma should avoid going to such places.
Timely measures not taken
The director-general of the Met Office told SAMAA TV that a written forecast of snowfall in upper parts of Punjab was issued on December 31. “The situation worsened because measures were not taken timely,” he said.
he deaths took place because roads were blocked and people were stuck in their cars for hours. They couldn’t reach hotels.
On the other hand, Hassan Khawar, spokesperson of the Punjab government, in a press conference later in the day, said that the government was aware an emergency situation could take place. “But we didn’t know it would be this bad.”
The traffic jam on the Kaldana Road occurred because the area joins Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab.
ایک گاڑی جس کا نمبر KX 483 اس گاڑی میں موجود پوری فیملی جاں بحق ہو چکی ہے مری کی ایک سڑک پر یہ لاشیں گاڑی میں موجود ہیں براہ کرم اس گاڑی میں موجود لاشوں کو نکالنے کے کئے مقامی لوگ انتظامیہ کی مدد کریں
21 people died in Murree