10 dead, 4 injured in roof collapse in AJK village

Published August 1, 2022
A photo of the mud house that collapsed in a village of Azad Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday night. — Tariq Naqash
A photo of the mud house that collapsed in a village of Azad Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday night. — Tariq Naqash

Ten people died while four others were injured after rainfall caused the roof of a mud house to collapse in a village located in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, officials said on Monday.

Hajira Assistant Commissioner (AC) Waleed Anwar said the incident took place on Sunday night in Tahi Khakhriyali — the last village of Poonch district along the left bank of Poonch River.

Anwar said that non-stop rainfall over the past few days had rendered the roof of the house, particularly the area over the veranda, fragile and vulnerable. He added that two brothers and their respective families lived in the mud house.

As many as 14 people from both families, mostly children, were sleeping in the veranda where they were buried under mounds of earth when the roof caved in, he said.

Villagers gathered at the scene and recovered seven bodies and as many injured from the debris even though a sudden downpour hampered their efforts, the AC said.

He added that the survivors were rushed to a private hospital in Tatta Pani where three of them succumbed to their wounds.

Those who lost their lives were identified as 60-year-old Syedi Begum, 36-year-old Noreen Begum, 13-year-old Sehar, 11-year-old Nabia, 35-year-old Waqar Begum, 13-year-old Zoya, 11-year-old Adisha, eight-year-old Asnad, six-year-old Zammad, and five-year-old Mubashar.

Among the survivors were 20-year-old Zoneer Ahmed, 18-year-old Faryal, six-year-old Anisa and two-year-old Zohaan.

In a statement, AJK Prime Minister Sardar Tanveer Ilyas expressed grief and sorrow over the lives lost and directed the officials concerned to facilitate the affected families in burying the dead and treating the injured.

He once again urged the people, particularly those visiting AJK, to exercise extreme caution amid the harsh weather.

Like the rest of the country, AJK is also in the grip of unrelenting rains which have swelled water channels and triggered landslides along many arteries, subsequently blocking or disturbing traffic.

Floods destroy infrastructure in Kohistan

Meanwhile, flash floods triggered by torrential rain wreaked havoc in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Upper Kohistan district as a bridge at Karakoram Highway (KKH) collapsed, cutting off communication and impeding traffic headed towards Gilgit-Baltistan.

The incident also damaged the infrastructure of the Dasu Hydro Power Project at Uchar Nala, according to Upper Kohistan Assistant Commissioner Hafiz Waqar Ahmad.

Officials present at the site of the collapsed bridge at the Karakoram Highway in Upper Kohistan. — Umar Bacha
Officials present at the site of the collapsed bridge at the Karakoram Highway in Upper Kohistan. — Umar Bacha

He told Dawn.com that the floods damaged the living quarters for the staff working on the Dasu project, adding that heavy machinery belonging to a Chinese company working at the site was also damaged.

“I personally visited the site and met the project staff and locals of the area as well as the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) [officials]. I discussed an alternative for the Uchar Nala bridge but heavy rubble carried by flood water, and the chance of more rain and floods may hinder work,” he said.

Ahmad added that the FWO would install an emergency steel bridge on the KKH but cautioned that work could not begin until the situation improved.

He said that he had requested the FWO to start clearing rubble as soon as it was possible, adding that the KKH would remain closed till the steel bridge was installed.

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