AJK hit hard hard by heavy snow as 61 people lost lives

AJK hit hard hard by heavy snow as 61 people lost lives 

The extreme cold weather and heavy snow fall has caused 61 deaths so far in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).In Neelum Valley alone- the death toll rose to 59 as the result of an avalanche.The rescue operation is under way with the help of Pakistan army.  
Fayyaz Ali Abbasi-a senior AJK official told media that 59  bodies of victims were retrieved from beneath mounds of snow on Tuesday.  He added that another 53 persons were rescued alive in injured condition.Around 80 per cent of the casualties had occurred in the hamlets of Bakwali and Seri in Surgan area of tehsil Sharda, he said.

Sharda is located some 137 kilometers northeast of Muzaffarabad and Surgan area stretches into the high altitude mountains from there. Bakwali and Seri are located around 8 and 10 kilometers, respectively, off the main Neelum valley road.

According to eyewitness reports- at least 53 houses and 17 shops had been leveled by the avalanches, while 78 houses and a mosque were partially damaged. Apart from that, seven vehicles and three motorbikes had also been damaged. “It’s a big disaster - a disaster that this area had not gone through at such a scale in over a decade said one local resident in Sharda. 

The helicopter had also dropped relief goods there. However, it could not land in Seri village despite several attempts. Due to the road blocked by landslides and avalanches  rescuers were going to Seri on foot. 

The relief goods that had been sent from Muzaffarabad for the affected area were also stuck near Dawarian, some 24 kilometers ahead of district headquarters Athmuqam and 28 kilometres before Sharda, due to blockade of the main Neelum Valley road. Road-clearing machines had been employed from both sides to pave way for movement of vehicular traffic. 
                                                  Ahmad Kazmi 

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