Murree struggles to get back on its feet after deadly snowstorm

Murree struggles to get back on its feet after deadly snowstorm

Pak News

A tourist removes snow from his vehicle stucked on a road following a blizzard that started on January 7 which led to visitors being trapped in vehicles along the roads to the resort hill town of Murree, some 70 Kms northeast of Islamabad on January 9, 2022. — AFP/File
  • Three days after deadly blizzard, life in Murree continues to be at a standstill.
  • More than 20 people died in the Murree snowstorm.
  • Water supply, electricity still not restored.

MURREE: The people of Murree have been unable to return to their routine, normal lives as the mountain resort town struggles to get back on its feet three days after a deadly snowstorm wreaked havoc and killed more than 20 people.

Water supply and power are still suspended at the Malka-e-Kohsar, while mobile services are still affected, Geo News reported Monday, as several people remain stranded.

Relief work is still underway, however, a majority of the tourists have been evacuated from the calamity-hit hill station.

Sources informed Geo News that some tourists have decided to stay at Murree for different reasons, while others have left their cars stranded at the hill station.

A team of the Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) worked to restore electricity in Murree, but they could not complete the job due to extreme weather conditions, sources said.

Buzdar vows ‘indiscriminate action’

A committee to probe the Murree tragedy was finalised on Sunday, with Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar vowing “impartial action” against all those found negligent in their duties.

The committee has been tasked to ascertain which government departments were responsible for the crisis situation that unfolded in Murree.

It will also assess what measures were taken to control the influx of visitors and vehicles.

Furthermore, the committee will look into what precautionary measures were taken by institutions in light of the weather advisory issued by the Met Office. It will determine whether a warning was run on media to dissuade people from travelling to the tourist destination.

The committee will probe what traffic control measures were taken amid the snowstorm and after reports of the adverse weather conditions were received, what safety measures were implemented.

The report as a result of the findings obtained will be submitted to the provincial government in seven days.

Initial report attributes deaths to carbon monoxide poisoning

A day earlier, an initial report was presented to the chief minister. It said that on January 7, four feet of snow fell in Murree.

According to the report, between January 3 and 7, 162,000 vehicles entered the city.

The report said that the 22 people who died on January 7 died due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Trees fell at 16 different points, blocking off the roads for traffic, said the report.

According to the report, 21,000 cars that made their way to Murree were sent back.

Financial assistance for heirs of deceased

The chief minister also announced Rs17.6 million in financial assistance for the families of the deceased, while noting that monetary assistance is “no substitute for human life”, APP reported.

The chief minister expressed his heartfelt sympathies with the bereaved families and said that the Punjab government shares in their sorrow, the publication said.

It also quoted Buzdar as saying that the entry of vehicles and tourists in Murree would be controlled from now on.

“Vehicles and tourists exceeding the specified limit would not be allowed to enter Murree,” Buzdar was quoted as saying.

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