The tally of those killed in avalanches in different parts of the country rose to over 100 on Tuesday.

In Neelam Valley and the other upper parts of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) over 69 people were killed, with the state government expecting a rise in casualties.

The Neelam Valley was particularly hard hit, with many people left cut off from help. While the area is prone to weather disasters, the current toll is one of the deadliest in recent history.

The state government has also dispatched utilities for burial of bodies and food items for over 100 affected families with the assistance of Pakistan Army. Relief and rescue operation is in progress in the affected areas.

According to the government, 69 people were killed in Neelam valley alone, media reports say. “The AJK government is fully engaged in rescue, relief and rehabilitation process with the assistance of 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 Muzaffarabad.

At least 56 houses were totally damaged after coming under the snow avalanches. Haider directed the authorities for swift shifting of the homeless people to safer places.

The AJK government, he said, was utilising all resources to ensure speedy relief and rehabilitation operation. He directed all the state-run functionaries to ensure their active participation in the relief work for the rehabilitation of affected families in the minimum possible time.

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

The AJK Minister for the Disaster Management Authority, Ahmad Raza Qadri, said a state of emergency had been declared for the affected areas on Tuesday morning. “Rescuers are facing difficulties in reaching the affected villages,” he said. Earlier, SP Neelam Valley office said at least 49 persons were killed and over three dozen wounded after scores of houses perished in Sarg, Seiri and Sargan Bagwali villages in the valley where avalanches played havoc.

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

Published On Public Hours January 15th, 2020

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