At least 35 people died while dozens more were injured as freezing rain and unexpected snowfall hit remote areas of Pakistan over the weekend.

At least 35 people have lost their lives in Pakistan following unexpected snowfall and heavy rains that swept across several regions of the country. The extreme weather caught many off guard, causing widespread disruption and devastation.

The northern parts of Pakistan, including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Azad Kashmir, were particularly hard hit by the unanticipated snowfall and rainfall. The sudden change in weather led to avalanches, landslides, and flooding in various areas, trapping residents and causing significant damage to infrastructure.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, authorities reported that 21 people were killed and several others were injured in snow-related incidents. Rescue operations are underway to reach stranded individuals and provide assistance to affected communities.

In Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir, the adverse weather conditions claimed the lives of 14 people, with many more still missing. The heavy snowfall and rainfall triggered avalanches and landslides, burying homes and blocking roads in remote mountainous areas.

The unexpected nature of the snowfall and heavy rains caught many residents by surprise, exacerbating the challenges faced by local authorities in responding to the crisis. Rescue teams have been deployed to the affected areas to search for survivors and provide relief efforts.

The Pakistani government has declared a state of emergency in the affected regions and mobilized resources to support rescue and relief operations. Helicopters have been deployed to airlift stranded individuals and deliver essential supplies to remote areas cut off by the inclement weather.

Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the snowfall and heavy rains. He directed authorities to expedite rescue and relief efforts and ensure the provision of necessary assistance to affected communities.

The devastating impact of the surprise snowfall and heavy rains underscores the urgent need for improved disaster preparedness and mitigation measures in Pakistan. Climate change has made extreme weather events more frequent and unpredictable, highlighting the importance of proactive measures to protect vulnerable populations and reduce the risk of future disasters.

Published: 5th March 2024

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