Car crash, roof collapse kill six in rain-hit KP

Published March 2, 2024
Vehicles pass through rainwater accumulated on a road in Nishtarabad, Peshawar, on Friday. (Right) A rescuer shows the number plate of a car that met a fatal accident in Lower Kohistan. — White Star/Dawn
Vehicles pass through rainwater accumulated on a road in Nishtarabad, Peshawar, on Friday. (Right) A rescuer shows the number plate of a car that met a fatal accident in Lower Kohistan. — White Star/Dawn

PESHAWAR: Rains and snowfall lashed wide areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Friday, killing six people and injuring six in separate incidents.

Five people were killed when a car they travelled in skidded off the downpour-slicked Karakoram Highway before falling into a deep ravine in the Torkamar area of Lower Kohistan district in Hazara Division.

“Four passengers lost their lives immediately after the accident, while another succumbed to injuries on the way to an Abbottabad hospital,” Rescue 1122 district head Sajid Ali told reporters.

The car carried passengers from Gilgit to Islamabad when the driver lost its control while negotiating a sharp turn on the Karakoram Highway.

Road closures, power suspension reported in province

The Rescue 1122 teams shifted the injured and the deceased to the Pattan civil hospital, where doctors referred one of the critically injured persons to the Ayub Medical Complex in Abbottabad. He died before reaching the health centre.

Spokesman for Rescue 1122 Bilal Ahmad Faizi said an eight-month-old girl was killed in a roof collapse in the Badhaber area on the outskirts of the provincial capital.

Three members of the family were injured in the incident.

Similarly, two people suffered minor injuries in another roof collapse incident in the Tajabad area of Peshawar. Also, a child was injured in a roof collapse in the Turganzai area of Charsadda district.

In the provincial capital, the rainwater accumulated on major arteries, including University Road, Kohat Road, and Assembly Chowk on the Khyber Road, causing a traffic mess.

The Peshawar Electric Supply Company said 190 of its power feeders tripped due to heavy rain, disrupting electric supply.

The public utility said its workers were trying to restore electric supply, but the continuous downpour had made their job difficult.

It asked the residents to cooperate with the company for an early resolution of the issue.

Rescue 1122 head in Lower Kohistan district Sajjad Ali said though it had been raining in the region since morning, the Karakoram Highway was open to traffic bound from Lower Kohistan to Upper Kohistan.

The rainfall started in Mansehra, Torghar, Abbottabad, Kolai-Palas, and Upper and Lower Kohistan districts early on Friday and continued intermittently all through the day.

The hilly and high-altitude parts of Kaghan Valley, the tourist resorts of Shogran and Konsh and Siren valleys in Mansehra, Kandia and Spat valleys in Kohistan, and Nathiagali received heavy snowfall that turned the weather cold.

The arteries linking the Mansehra-Naran-Jalkhad Road with hilly parts of Kaghan Valley were blocked by heavy snow and landslides, much to the misery of residents.

The Mansehra-Naran-Jalkhad Road was blocked beyond Kaghan town. It wasn’t cleared to traffic until night.

Upper and Lower Dir districts were also lashed by rain, while hilltops received heavy snowfall, paralysing life.

The Upper Dir administration on Monday asked motorists to use snow chains on the way to Chitral as the Lowari Top received more than two feet of snow on Sunday night and Monday. The plains in the Dir region received rain without interval on Monday. The hilltops received snowfall in Shahi, Binshahi, Laram Top, Luqman Banda, and Kalpani Maidan in the Lower Dir, and Kumrat, Dir Kohistan, Doog Dara, Barawal Top, Lowari Top, and Karo Dara in the Upper Dir. The Upper Dir administration asked transporters to avoid travelling to Chitral and the upper parts of the district without snow chains due to snow-slicked roads. The drivers were directed to take the mountainous roads at night and early in the morning during rain and snowfall.

In a statement, the administration said the National Highways Authority’s workers were on standby, while clearance of snow from the roads was in progress.

Also, the upper parts of Shangla district received snowfall, while rain lashed other parts of the region.

 A motorcyclist makes his way along a street amid a drizzle in Peshawar on March 1, 2024. — AFP
A motorcyclist makes his way along a street amid a drizzle in Peshawar on March 1, 2024. — AFP

It started snowing on Thursday night and continued until Friday evening. The rain lashed the rest of the district, including Bisham city, Alpuri, Puran, Chakisar, Martung, Shahpur, Karora, Bely Baba, Dandai, and Kamach.

The snow continued to fall at Shangla Top, Yakhtangay, Gamtal, Speenghar, Kandaw, Lilownai, Ajmer, Olandar, and other mountainous areas, blanketing the peaks of the local mountains.

Police told Dawn that the Bisham-Swat Road was opened to light traffic, but heavy snowfall blocked it.

Also, the Alpuri-Puran Road was blocked at Yakhtangay, while power supply to Puran, Martung, and Alpuri tehsils was suspended.

The Shangla administration has already banned vehicles without snow chains from taking the snowbound roads.

Torrential rains paralysed life in Bajaur tribal district on Friday. Link roads in several areas remained closed throughout the day.

Residents said torrential downpours coupled with heavy snowfall began in many hilly areas on Thursday evening, badly hitting life.

They said several link roads were closed to traffic due to the accumulation of rainwater.

The road closures were reported in the mountainous areas of Mamond, Nawagai, Barang, Salarzai, and Utmankhel tehsils.

The heavy rain also posed a hazard to the houses, as most of them are made of mud. It said heavy snowfall turned the weather very cold.

Cold also swept across Swat district due to snowfall and heavy rains.

Mild-heavy snowfall was reported in Malam Jabba, Mankiyal, Peshamal, Kalam, Utror, Gabral, Matiltan, Mahodand, Gabin Jabba, Elum, Sangar, and other hilly areas, with the temperature plummeting to the freezing point.

The meteorological department said snowfall in the mountains and rainfall in the lowlands would continue until Sunday evening.

Snowfall attracted tourists, especially from Islamabad and Lahore.

“I never had such a mesmerising sight. Snowfall here is simply enchanting,” Ayesha Khan of Islamabad told Dawn in Malam Jabba.

“It’s like stepping into a fairy tale.”

Ali Hassan of Lahore said the experience of snowfall in Kalam was unexplainable.

“It feels like nature’s celebration, and I’m grateful to be part of it,” he said.

It snowed along the length and breadth of Chitral Valley as well, bringing life to a standstill. People confined themselves to their houses.

Roads were closed to traffic in Broghil, Rech, Khot, Terich, and Madak Lasht. Authorities stopped vehicular movement on the link roads of the Lowari Tunnel for the safety of travelers.

Widespread snowfall was forecast for two more days in the valley, leading to the closure of schools and colleges, which resumed classes on Friday after winter vacation.

Authorities also postponed the anti-polio campaign, which was slated to start on Saturday. It will be carried out after valley roads are opened to traffic.

The meteorological department forecast widespread rains with windstorms and thunderstorms and heavy snowfall on hills for Saturday in Chitral, Dir, Swat, Kohistan, Shangla, Buner, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Haripur, Swabi, Mardan, Peshawar, Charsadda, Nowshera, Bajaur, Khyber, Mohmand, Kurram, Kohat, Waziristan, Karak, Lakki Marwat, Bannu, and Dera Ismail Khan districts.

It also said hailstorm was likely to hit scattered places.

The department said Upper Dir recorded 60mm of rainfall in the last 24 hours, Lower Dir 22, Cherat 43, Parachinar 39, Chitral 34, Pattan 30, Kalam and Mardan 29, Bannu 27, Drosh 26, Peshawar 26, Saidu Sharif 23, Balakot 11, and Dera Ismail Khan 3.

Published in Dawn, March 2nd, 2024

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