Landslide kills seven in Rawalakot as heavy rain continues


RAWALAKOT: At least seven people, most of them children, were killed and six others were injured after a landslide triggered by heavy rains engulfed three houses in a mountain village of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) early on Saturday.

The incident occurred at about 5am in a hamlet known as Pothi Chapriyan Hiloti, close to which runs a channel to carry water for an under-construction hydropower project, according to a police official.

The official said that due to heavy rains the channel was brimming with water, which got accumulated at the landslide affected part of the mountain. The pressure of the accumulated water and unrelenting heavy rains activated the landslide and the mudflow engulfed three houses belonging to three bothers along its path.

All three houses were damaged completely, the official said.

As the houses were struck, people of the area rushed to rescue the trapped residents.

Zubaida, 50, and her children Zaheer, Anam, Malaika, Tayyiba and Laiba were immediately rescued alive.

However, Zubaida was critically injured while her children received minor wounds and bruises. The woman was referred to a health facility in district headquarters Rawalakot.

From the house of Raj Muhammad, the bodies of his wife Sobia, 40, and daughters Tasmiya, 11, Alisha, 9, Asma, 7, and Mahjabeen, 4, were recovered.

The body of 18-year-old Shoaib Maqsood, a nephew of Raj, was also recovered.

Rescuers recovered the body of Rufi, a one-and-a-half years old daughter of Raj, from under the debris in the afternoon.

Because the area was inaccessible by road, no heavy machinery could be brought there to remove earth.

Meanwhile, heavy rain continued in parts of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). Due to the rain, landslides were also expected in Hazara, Malakand division, Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) and the mountainous region of the AJK.

At least 28 people had died and dozens more, including women and children, had gone missing after heavy rains and flash floods wreaked havoc in AJK’s Neelum valley last month.

Over 150 houses in the Laswa area were damaged while dozens of people were swept away in the floods caused by a cloudburst.