MANSEHRA/GILGIT: Rescuers recovered two bodies and four injured on Tuesday from the houses which were struck by a massive landslide in Thor Nullah Bari area of Kohistan district on Monday morning.

A huge portion of earth detached from a mountain and fell on a hamlet of houses in the area, burying about 30 people.

District Police Officer Ali Rehmat said 23 people were still under tons of mud.

A helicopter arrived from Islamabad to take part in relief operation, but it could not take off from Puttan area of Kohistan because of rough weather.

He said that 16 of the 26 foreigners stranded in different parts of Kohistan had left for Islamabad. The rest are staying at a police rest house.

Meanwhile, one person was killed in Shangla district while a child lost his life and three others suffered injuries in Mardan district in rain-related incidents on Tuesday.

The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) said in Peshawar that so far 61 people had been killed and 52 others injured in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. About 375 houses were damaged.

ARMY ENGINEERS: The army said two engineering battalions comprising 600 troops, along with 60 engineering plant pieces, had been employed in the disaster-hit areas of KP and Gilgit-Baltistan to restore communication infrastructure.

A statement issued by the Inter Services Public Relations in Peshawar said Mingora-Mallam Jabba, Shangla-Alpuri, Chitral-Mastuj, Chitral-Bomboreet and Chitral-Garam Chashma roads had been reopened to traffic while efforts were being made to restore vital links in the mountainous region.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pervez Khattak directed the PDMA to release additional funds to Upper Dir and Kohistan and provide relief goods to the district administration for distribution among the affected people in Malakand and Hazara regions.

Major and link roads in Shangla were still blocked and the administration was waiting for heavy machinery to remove mud and boulders from roads.

The National Highway Authority started work to reopen Besham-Swat and Besham-Ranyal roads.

Shortage of drinking water was reported from Besham town because flash floods had damaged supply lines. An official said repair work would take at least two weeks.

The residents of Karshat Jai village vacated their houses and moved to safe places because of fear of landslides. A large number of survivors are living under the open sky and facing food shortage.

In Gilgit-Baltistan, three members of a family, including a woman and two children, were killed when the roof of their house collapsed in Khiner valley of Diamer district on Tuesday.

Landslides killed a boy and two shepherds in Deral area.

So far 16 people have been killed in rain-related incidents in Diamer.

The Karakoram Highway was blocked at several places because of landslides and there were shortages of food, oil and medicines in the region. Electricity supply remained suspended after rains and flash floods damaged hydropower stations.

Hundreds of people in Diamer, Nagar, Hunza, Astore, Ghizer, Gilgit and Baltistan have vacated their houses and landslides and moved to safe places.

Thousands of acres of land, trees and cattle were damaged by two days of rain and snowfall, which triggered flash floods landslides.

The GB Disaster Management Authority and the district administration were unable to send relief goods to the affected areas because of rough weather and blockade of link roads.

The water supply system and irrigation channels in a large number of areas have been destroyed by floods.

FOREIGN TOURISTS: About 50 foreign tourists were stranded in Hunza, Nagar, Gilgit and Diamer because of landslides in the Karakoram Highway.

Hundreds of passengers, including women and children, going to Islamabad have been stranded in Diamer for two days. They are staying in hotels.

Four South Korean women and their Pakistani driver who had gone missing between Kohistan and Diamer on Sunday were recovered on Tuesday. They had taken shelter at a house in Loter area of Kohistan after landslides blocked the Karakoram Highway. The tourists were going to Islamabad from Hunza on Saturday morning.

Their travel agent, Dok Mani, told Dawn that they had been shifted to Islamabad.

About 25 Japanese, South Koreans and Chinese were still stranded in Hunza, Nagar and Diamer.

GB Governor Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan called upon the federal government to send a special flight to take the foreigners to Islamabad.

According to a press release, he also directed the GB administration to immediately start rescue and relief operations and restore the communication system.

Published in Dawn, April 6th, 2016


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