Snow being cleared on Monday to open a major artery in Chitral. (Right) Locals shift a patient to hospital during snowfall in Battagram. — Dawn
Snow being cleared on Monday to open a major artery in Chitral. (Right) Locals shift a patient to hospital during snowfall in Battagram. — Dawn

PESHAWAR: Six people were injured in different incidents as widespread rain and heavy snowfall lashed most parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Monday.

Heavy snowfall also disrupted routine of life and led to blockage of roads in Upper and Lower Chitral, Shangla, Upper Dir, parts of Swat, Abbottabad, Mansehra and Upper Kohistan.

The relief and rehabilitation department confirmed that six persons were injured in rain and snowfall-related incidents in Shangla and Bajaur districts. Three people including two women and a child were injured when a room collapsed as an avalanche hit it in Pirabad area of Shangla.

Three members of a family were critically injured in a roof collapse incident in Rehmanabad area of Khar tehsil in Bajaur tribal district.

The rain that started late on Sunday continued to lash the provincial capital throughout the day on Monday; however, no casualties were reported from any part of city till filing of this report.

Roads in several districts remain closed to traffic

Officials said that all major roads in Chitral were blocked due to heavy snowfall, bringing life to standstill. Remote mountainous areas of the district received more than two feet of snow while vehicular traffic to different valleys also stood disrupted.

The bazaar wore a deserted look while both the government and non-government offices including the district headquarters hospital registered an abysmally low strength of attendance on Monday as the employees could not turn up due to closure of roads leading to the city.

The supply of electricity to both Upper and Lower Chitral remained suspended as the transmission lines passing through the Lowari Pass were affected by the snowfall adding to the miseries of the people.

Naveed Ahmed, the deputy commissioner of Lower Chitral, told Dawn that the approach roads of the Lowari tunnel on both northern and southern sides were closed to all kinds of traffic and the district was disconnected from the rest of the province.

He said that no work could be started on clearance of roads from snow and avalanches till complete halt of snowfall.

Heavy snowfall in Shangla continued for third consecutive day and parts of the district received 24 to 36 inches of snow that led to closure of Karakoram Highway, Bisham-Swat Road, Yakhtangay-Puran Road, Karora-Chakesar and other link roads. Bisham city also received an inch snowfall after a gap of six years.

Heavy rain and snowfall continued to lash Hazara division for second consecutive day, leading to blockage of Karakorum Highway in Pattan area of Lower Kohistan. Mansehra-Naran-Jalkhad Road and many links roads were also blocked due to snowfall in Kaghan and Siren valleys.

Battagram district also received heavy rain and snowfall, leading to blockage of roads. Karakoram Highway was blocked at Chattar Top. The passengers travelling to Battagram and Gilgit-Baltistan remained stranded.

In tehsil Allai, all the link roads including Bateela, Pashto, Rashang and Gantar were blocked due to snowfall while power supply also remained suspended.

The weather advisory of Met department said that widespread rain with snowfall on hills was expected in Peshawar, Khyber, Nowshera, Charsadda, Mohmand, Mardan, Swabi, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Haripur, Battagram, Kohistan, Torghar, Malakand, Lower and Upper Dir, Chitral, Bajaur, Swat, Buner, Shangla and Kurram districts and at scattered places in Kohat, Hangu, Karak, Orakzai, North Waziristan, Bannu, Lakki Marwat, Dera Ismail Khan, Tank and South Waziristan districts.

Kalam received 85 millimetre of rain while Malamjaba 58, Dir 51, Timergara 30, Pattan 28, Parachinar 26, Kakul 25, Cherat 23, Drosh 20, Takht Bhai, Peshawar 17, Dera Ismail Khan 13 and Charsadda received 04 millimetre rain.

Malam Jabba received 36 inches of snowfall while Kalam recorded 22, Chitral 7.9, Parachinar and Drosh 5, Dir 3 and Pattan one inch. Parachinar recorded the lowest temperature of -8 Celsius during the past 24 hours.

Despite heavy rain in parts of Lower Dir and snowfall on hilltops, tourists along with families thronged the scenic snow-covered Laram Top in Adenzai area.

Most of tourists walked for about three kilometres to reach the Laram Top as the road leading to the 8,500 feet high tourists’ destination remained closed due to heavy snowfall.

“I have come from Batkhela and want to reach the Laram Top. I have left my car some three kilometres below,” Umar Zahid told Dawn near the top.

Saqibur Rehman from Peshawar said he along with his friends enjoyed the snowfall. He said that it was easy to reach the Laram Top.

The tourists and locals also enjoyed snow Kabbadi championship amid heavy snowfall in Kalam, Swat.

The snow Kabbadi is played only in Kalam in the snow season. About eight teams from across Kalam tehsil participated in the championship played at Shahi Ground.

The final match was played between Young Challenger and Snow Leopard that was won by the former. A large number of local people and tourists watched the tournament.

Aziz Kalami, an organiser of the event, said that they wanted to involve local youth in healthy activity in the freezing weather and promote tourism. He added that the snow Kabbadi championship was played every year in Kalam during the snowfall.

The tourists said that they were excited to watch the tournament as it was something new and challenging for them.

Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2020