QUETTA/GWADAR: Life was disrupted in various cities and towns of northern and central Balochistan, including the provincial capital, on Saturday as the third spell of heavy snowfall and rain lashed the areas over the last 24 hours.

Gusty winds and thunderstorms battered cities and towns along the Makran coast.

Traffic was also affected at several highways and link roads while some trucks carrying different items were reportedly struck between Sanjavi and Ziarat due to heavy snowfall.

Over a dozen people were stranded in these areas who were later rescued and shifted to a safe place by the Levies Force personnel.

The third spell of snowfall and rain started on Friday evening in Quetta, Ziarat, Sanjavi, Kojak Pass, Qila Abdullah, Kan Mehtarzai, Muslim Bagh, Khanozai, Toba Achakzai, Toba Kakari, Mastung, Kolpur, Kalat and Mangochar.

“Snowfall continued in parts of northern and central Balochistan throughout the day with brief intervals,” official sources told Dawn.

Gas and power supply was badly affected in the affected areas, with some localities getting no gas supply at all.

Earthquake-stricken Harnai received heavy rains with thunderstorms and the tents provided to the quake-affected families were uprooted. However, they were being shifting to safe places, officials said.

The national highways linking Balochistan with Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were closed for a few hours, but snow was later removed using heavy machinery and salt was spread on the affected roads.

“All highways and link roads including Quetta-Chaman highway which connects Pakistan with Afghanistan are clear and no traffic suspension was reported from any area,” a senior official told Dawn.

Officials said damage occurred in the coastal areas of Gwadar, Pasni, Ormara and Jiwani as gusty winds blowing in Makran division developed high tides in the Balochistan waters.

Electric poles fell in several areas disrupting power supply to the vast area of Makran.

“Visibility at Gwadar-Uthal coastal highway and Gwadar-Turbat highway was very low due to gusty winds,” Motorway police officials said, asking the people to avoid travelling at coastal and other highways in Makran for the time being.

A fishing vessel which went into the open sea from Jiwani was trapped into the high tides. However, the fisheries department and maritime agency rushed to the site after receiving SOS from the fishermen present at the vessel and rescued eight fishermen.

Local officials in Gwadar said that many fishing boats anchored at the coast of Gwadar, Jiwani, Pasni and Ormara were badly damaged due to high tide in the sea. Met office officials said that gusty winds and high sea tides will continue for the next 24 hours.

Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2022

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