Imran Khan looks at a young injured avalanche victim at a military hospital in Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, on Wednesday. AFP
The death toll from days of bad weather now stands at 76 in Kashmir, and at least 100 across the country, according to a statement from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
Search teams found the bodies of 14 more people buried by avalanches and heavy snowfall in AJK on Wednesday, with harsh weather hampering rescuers as they race to find any survivors, officials said.
The premier visited the injured at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Neelum Valley.
Special Adviser to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan, in a tweet, stated that following the avalanche, Imran Khan had directed authorities to take prompt action and provide relief and rescue services at the earliest.
She said the premier had also asked concerned institutions to provide full assistance to the affected people and called for the injured to be shifted to safer places and be provided with the best medical facilities.
Officials said the figure could further go up as some areas in the valley were still inaccessible due to heavy snowfall, while weather pundits forecast another spell of snowfall beginning on Friday.
The worst affected area was Kashmir's Neelum Valley, where the 21 bodies were retrieved, said Ahmad Raza Qadri, a minister for disaster management. He said that since Sunday, 76 people have been killed in AJK in weather-related incidents. Another 45 people were killed in southwestern Balochistan and eastern Punjab provinces.
Earlier on Wednesday, AJK Chief Secretary Mathar Niaz Rana had confirmed the prime minister will visit the area and will receive a briefing on the situation in the valley in the aftermath of the weather disasters.
Taking notice of the deteriorating situation in Neelum Valley on Tuesday, the prime minister had taken to Twitter to assure citizens that the government had taken notice of the situation and was working on an “emergency footing” to provide relief and assistance.
Imran said: “The severe snowfalls and landslides in AJK have caused misery and deaths. I have asked the NDMA, the military and all our federal ministers to immediately provide all humanitarian assistance on an emergency footing to the affected people in AJK.”
In total, 76 people were killed in the AJK, 39 in Balochistan and at least seven in Sialkot and other districts of Punjab over the past few days. Rain-related incidents also led to the closure of major roads and highways in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, AJK and Balochistan.
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.
At least 57 people were killed and others were missing after avalanches in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir over the last 24 hours, senior government officials said on Tuesday. In neighbouring India, at least 10 people were killed after several avalanches hit the northern-part of Indian-administered Kashmir.
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