Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Avalanche in Upper Dir claims dozens of lives

Fourteen people, including children and women, were killed and four injured when an avalanche caused by rain and hailstorms struck homes and resulted in roof collapses in the southern and north western districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, it emerged on Tuesday.

Ten persons from one family died when the avalanche hit a house and a shop in Upper Dir, police officials confirmed.

Thal police Station House Officer (SHO) Fazal Rabbi Khan told The Express Tribune that those killed include school-going children.

Locals teamed up with security forces and rescue teams to launch rescue operations in the Badran and Batal areas of Kohistan.

The incident occurred 150 kilometres away from the district headquarters in the east, near the border with Swat.

Khan said that the avalanche hit in the mountainous area of Makral Mohallah of Badran village early on Sunday.

The police official said that seven children belonging to one family were killed along with their parents after being trapped under debris in the house belonging to Gul Badshah. Locals complained of a delayed start in the rescue operation in the remote area. The incident took place 25 kilometers away from the Thal police station where it took government officials three hours to access the area.

“The rescue workers were successful in retrieving bodies from the debris after a hectic four-hour joint operation,” the SHO said, adding that moving scenes were witnessed when the mass funeral of the family members was held in the village.

Similarly, the second incident took place in the Batal Bazaar area of Usherai Dara on Monday.

A police official confirmed the deaths of four school-going children of grade five, adding that one body could not be identified.

He added that two persons were missing and that the partially injured were transferred to Timergara while the critically wounded were shifted to Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar. Locals expressed fear that the death toll may increase.

Meanwhile, a statement issued by the ISPR from Swat said that the rescue operation was under way in two areas of the district. In a press release, it said that security officials were conducting rescue activities and dispatched ration for the affected families.

The statement confirms the deaths of 10 persons from one family in the Badran area of Kohistan, in which nine bodies have been retrieved while the search for one is ongoing.

The statement further adds that four persons died while four others wounded in the Batal area were shifted to the hospital.

Three of a family, including a father, mother and their daughter died when a roof collapsed in Orakzai Agency on Tuesday.

Assistant Political Agent Hayat Khan Wazir said the incident occurred due to the recent prolonged spell of rains in the agency. Locals demanded that the government extend relief efforts and compensate the damage.

In Bannu, a two-year-old died while four women were injured in a heavy downpour and hailstorm resulting in a roof collapse in the district. The rain spell continued till Monday night which caused severe damage to crops, orchards and houses.

Wednesday 09 April 2014


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