Hundreds stuck in harsh weather as snowfall wreaks havoc in Balochistan

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QUETTA: Hundreds of passengers, including women and infants, were stuck on the roads in harsh weather on Monday night as a massive snowstorm wreaked havoc in different parts of Balochistan.

Levies officials said that more than 300 passengers were stranded in Kan Mehtarzai area of Killa Saifullah district, where temperatures dipped to as low as -14 degrees Celcius while heavy snowfall and strong winds almost buried cars on the main National Highway.

“We are getting no support from the government, women, kids and sick people stuck here,” Hamid Ullah, a passenger whose vehicle was stuck in snow at Kan Mehtarzai, told Geo News via telephone.

“There are no settlements anywhere near, and fuel in many of the cars is about to end. The engines are nearly dead. The city is about an hour away from us,” he said.

Rescue workers trying to clear snow from the road in Kan Mehtarzai area of Killa Saifullah district on Monday, January 13, 2020.—Geo News

More than 14 people have already reportedly lost their lives due to heavy snowfall as the latest spell of inclement weather hit different parts of the province.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner in Killa Saifullah said the government had already informed the public about the massive snow storm expected ahead.

“Winds have blown snow from mountains and carried it on to the national highway leaving the passengers stranded,” the government official said.

The Levies paramilitary force also backed the deputy commissioner, saying that snow coming from the mountains has almost buried some cars.

The local administration does not have enough resources to rescue the people, said a Levies official.

Emergency declared in Balochistan

Life has come to a standstill in parts of Balochistan due to harsh snowfall as the temperature reached -14C — Geo News screen grab

Heavy rain and snowfall paralysed life in seven districts of Balochistan as the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) declared an emergency in Mastung, Qila Abdullah, Kech, Ziarat, Harnai, and Pishin districts.

Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan visited the PDMA office and was briefed on the weather situation across the province. “A high alert had been issued to the commissioners and deputy commissioners,” the chief minister told the media after attending the briefing.

Snowfall blocked the highway from Mehtarzai to Zhob where several vehicles were stranded. Director General PDMA said work was underway to open the highway for traffic.

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