Avalanches, landslides claim 83 lives in Pakistan

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By Muhammad Luqman
The death toll from snow-related incidents has risen to 83 as most of Pakistan continued to be in the grip of severe coldwave on Tuesday .
According to National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), dozens of villagers were still stranded in the avalanche-hit areas of Neelum valley following heavy rains that also triggered landslides.

Many people were reported missing and feared dead as rescue efforts got underway, newspapers and electronic media reported.
25-year-old record has been broken in northern Pakistan town of Skardu as the cold wave has continued to grip various parts of Pakistan.
Riverlets and ponds in Skardu have been frozen due to severe low temperature while the intermittent snowfall has also blocked the main connecting roads.
On the other hand, fog has been reported in most plain areas of Punjab and upper Sindh while in few districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Smooth flow of road, rail and air traffic has been disrupted due to reduced visibility caused by fog.
Avalanches, flooding and harsh winter weather has killed more than 110 people across Pakistan and in neighbouring Afghanistan in recent days as authorities struggled to reach people stranded by heavy snowfall.
“49 bodies were removed from collapsed buildings in Muzaffarabad,” Ahmad Raza Qadri, the Khyber Pakhtunkhawa chief of provincial disaster management said.
“Rescue operation is under way with the help of Pakistan Army,” Qadri said, adding that due to the severe weather conditions the rescue operations were hampered.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Karakoram highway was closed due to landsliding in the Pattan area of Lower Kohistan, while Chitral district was cut-off from the rest of the province due to heavy snowfall, he said.
A cold snap, heavy snowfall and rains that started two weeks ago have caused damage,” he said, adding that most casualties were caused after roofs collapsed under thick snow.

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