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pakistan
Wednesday Jan 15 2020
By
Reuters

'I thought I'd die there': AJK avalanche survivor found alive after 18 hours

By
Reuters
Samina said she could not sleep while she waited to be rescued. Her leg was fractured and blood was oozing from her mouth. Photo: Reuters

MUZAFFARABAD: A 12-year-old girl, who was under a snow blanket for 18 hours, was found alive on Wednesday after her family's house was engulfed by an avalanche in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. 

Samina Bibi recalled screaming and shouting for help as she lay trapped in a room under the snow.

The death toll from Monday’s avalanches in Neelum Valley rose to 74, according to officials, as rescuers continued to recover bodies.

Samina was one of the lucky ones. “I thought I would die there,” she told Reuters from a hospital bed in Muzaffarabad, where she and dozens of other injured people were receiving treatment after being airlifted out of the avalanche area.

For Samina’s mother, Shahnaz Bibi, who lost a son and another daughter, the rescue was nothing short of a miracle. After being pulled out of the snow earlier, Shahnaz said she and her brother, Irshad Ahmad, had given up hope of finding Samina alive.

Read more: 83 dead as severe cold grips Pakistan

Samina said she could not sleep while she waited to be rescued. Her leg was fractured and blood was oozing from her mouth.

For the family, the disaster happened very fast. “We didn’t hear a rumble,” Shahnaz said, recalling the moments before the avalanche buried the three-storey house where she and her family were sheltering with others from the village. At least 18 of them died.

Samina and her family were huddled round a fire when the avalanche hit. “It happened in the blink of an eye,” said Shahnaz.

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said the total number of deaths in snow-hit areas in Pakistan over the last couple of days had jumped to 100. More heavy snowfall is expected in the region from Friday.