Thousands of tourists including women and children, tourists and local people have been trapped in Kaghan valley due to closure of Naran-Balakot road after heavy snowfall and landslides at various locations on Saturday and Sunday.
Thousands of foreign and local tourists had gone to the scenic Naran valley to spend the holidays but they were trapped after several feet of snowfall and landslides at a number of locations on road leading to Balakot.
Reports said that over 1,000 vehicles were trapped at various places. The stranded people had to suffer due to shortage of food, intense cold weather and lack of space to spend the night.
National Highway Authorities (NHA), however, reacted promptly and sent heavy machinery to clear the road but it was a difficult task as the landslides occurred at dozens of places making it difficult for the NHA to clear the road and rescue the stranded people. In addition, continuous snow fall made the job even more difficult and demanding.
Deputy Commissioner (DC) Mansehra told media that he had requested the provincial government to provide helicopters to airlift the stranded tourists.
Assistant commissioner (AC) Balakot said that the district administration was monitoring the situation and all resources and efforts were being utilized to rescue and facilitate the stranded people.
Reports said that the prime minister asked the federal interior secretary to contact the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) chief minister and offer any assistance that was needed to evacuate the stranded tourists. The interior secretary also spoke to Chief Minister Pervez Khattak and offered federal government’s assistance.
Meanwhile, on the directives of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif, the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) has started clearing the road to facilitate the tourists and locals.
A tourist from Karachi Zulfiqar Qureshi told the news agency over the phone that hotel owners in Naran and Kaghan were taking advantage of the situation and had increased the fares by almost three to four times. The stranded people have to pay Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 for a single room per night which in routine was available at Rs 3000 to Rs 5000.
The stranded tourists demanded of the provincial government to take notice of the situation and implement solid measures to facilitate them and clear the road link so they that they could return to their homes.
KAGHAN GLACIER BREAK-OFF: ONE MINER KILLED NINE RESCUED:
One miner died after a glacier break-off in Kaghan Valley of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Mansehra district buried at least ten miners on Sunday.
District Police Officer (DPO) Mansehra Najeebur Rehman told media personnel that nine other labourers, who were working inside a ruby mine, were rescued from beneath the glacial debris and admitted to District Headquarters Hospital Mansehra for treatment of minor injuries.
Station House Officer Kaghan Valley Police Station Gulnawaz Khan said that the miners had been working underneath the glacier at the time of the break-off.
Heavy snowfall in northern areas has caused a number of avalanches, leaving around 300 vehicles stranded in the area.