15 die as rain, snowfall wreak havoc in Balochistan
QUETTA, Jan 1: At least 15 people, including four women, were killed in Balochistan during the past 48 hours because of the combined effects of cold, rain, snowfall and flash floods.
Heavy snowfall covered Quetta and other parts of northern parts of the province causing the maximum average temperature to drop as low as two degrees Centigrade. The minimum recorded temperature in Quetta was three degrees below the freezing point.
Cold winds, which started lashing the Quetta Valley since Friday night, continued unabated throughout the day on Saturday, forcing the people to stay warm indoors and affecting the normal daily life in the provincial capital.
Four persons died of severe cold in the Ziarat and Toba Kakari areas in Pishin district on Friday night. They included two shepherds, Ali Ahmed and Qudratullah, who got stuck up in a hilly area because of the heavy snowfall.
Reports from Kharan area indicated that four persons drowned in flash flood occurring after heavy rains lashed the area for over 48 hours. Flooding occurred in the general area of the Gaddang union council where two villagers were also reportedly washed away by the water torrents.
Provincial Minister for Prisons Mir Habibullah Mohammad Hasni confirmed destruction in various areas of Kharan and Mashkal and said that hundreds of mud houses had collapsed because of the heavy rains, adding that these areas had been cut off from the rest of the province after traffic was suspended on the Quetta-Kharan and Kharan-Panjgur roads.
Telephone and power supply lines were also badly affected in the area and the telephone link between Quetta and Kharan could not be restored even after 48 hours.
The provincial minister urged the provincial government to send immediate relief teams to the area besides calling for mounting a rescue operation.
A woman and her two children were killed in the Mullah Rodzai area after the roof of a mud house collapsed because of heavy snowfall and rains in the area. The dead included two-year-old Nadir and four-year-old Dilawar.
Another woman and her year-old daughter were killed after a roof collapsed in Chaman. Two more women were reported killed in roof collapse incidents in Panjgur and Dalbandin.
Meanwhile, Quetta remained cut off from many towns in northern Balochistan because of heavy snowfall in these areas and the road link could not restored till the filing of this report on Saturday. The Khojak Pass was also closed for traffic between Quetta, Chaman and Kandahar.
The provincial communication and works department was making efforts to restore traffic between Quetta and other areas of Balochistan.