MUZAFFARABAD: A 20-year-old woman drowned in Neelum River on Tuesday while trying to catch firewood, pushing the toll in the area in such incidents over the past 24 hours to four, an official said.

Sajida Mushtaq, a resident of Khawaja Seri village in the upper belt of valley, was catching firewood from Neelum River when she lost balance and was swept away by the violent current, Akhtar Ayoub, the district disaster management officer in Neelum, told Dawn.

People present on the spot tried to rescue her, but in vain, he said, adding the victim’s body could not be fished out despite efforts that continued until sunset.

Pertinently, during the spells of heavy rains, a lot of firewood and split logs float in water channels and many people lose their lives while trying to catch the same in defiance of repeated warnings by government officials.

In response to a question, Mr Ayoub said the body of a five-year-old girl who had drowned on Monday in the lower belt of the valley could not be retrieved either on Tuesday.

In a statement issued here on Tuesday, the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) said that as many as eight persons had died and another 11 wounded in rain-related incidents in different parts of AJK between April 11 and 16.

Published in Dawn, April 17th, 2024

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