Punjab CM orders rescue operation for stranded tourists in northern areas

Shehbaz says he will personally monitor rescue process over the course of the night

Arif Urfi

LAHORE: Chief Minister (CM) of Punjab Shehbaz Sharif on Monday night issued orders to rescue stranded citizens in northern parts of the country after a heavy rain and snowfall paralysed movement in affected areas.

A spell of heavy snowfall and rainfall in parts of Azad Kashmir, Nathia Gali in Abbottabad, and Galyat stranded at least 800 vehicles and hundreds of citizens.

Stranded tourists, including women and children, had earlier appealed to the authorities to provide urgent rescue service to which the Punjab CM had promptly responded by ordering the Commissioner, Regional Police Officer (RPO), Chief Traffic Police Officer (CTO) to reach the affected areas and commencing rescue operations.

At least 800 stranded vehicles formed long lines on roads blocked by piles of snow due to heavy downpour and snowfall that also blocked land routes to Islamabad from four districts of Azad Kashmir.

Shehbaz directed the authorities to obtain all the required equipment to rescue the stranded citizens. He also instructed officials to request for the army's assistance if required.

The Punjab CM has stated that he will personally monitor the rescue process over the course of the night.  

Cold, dry weather expected

According to the MET, more rain and thunderstorm (with snowfall over the hills) are expected at isolated places in Malakand, Hazara, Zhob divisions, Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan in the next forty-eight hours. 

In the last twenty-four hours, snowfall recorded in three inches in Malamjabba, one inch in Murree and Rawalakot, half-foot in Kalam and Parachinar, while three inches of snowfall was recorded in Ziarat.

On Sunday, rainfall in Chirat was recorded at 56 millimetres, while 46 millimetres and 39 millimetres of rain was recorded in Malam Jabba and Dir. 

Precipitation trends claim over 150,000 lives annually

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the warming and precipitation trends associated with climate change claim over 150,000 lives annually.

It is possible that the costs of this phenomenon will increase with time —both in lives as well as in economics — underscoring the need for more effective approaches to this problem.

The rate of global warming has accelerated over the last few decades and, as a result, sea levels are rising, glaciers are melting and precipitation patterns are changing. 

Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and more intense, and their consequences have had a harsh impact on the lives of every population in nature.

Pakistan has more glaciers than any other country outside the polar region – more than 7,200 in the Karakoram, Himalayan and Hindu Kush ranges, according to Pakistan’s meteorological department.

They feed the Indus River system, the country’s water lifeline. But data gathered over the last 50 years shows that all but around 120 of the glaciers are showing signs of melting, meteorological officials said.

Recent natural catastrophic events in the United States and Puerto Rico — which may be related to or worsened by climate change — call attention to the effects this phenomenon has on human health.