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Tourists freeze to death in their cars after heavy snowfall

Several people, including 9 children, froze to death in vehicles in Pakistan’s hill station Murree on Saturday after unprecedented snowfall hit the picturesque town in Punjab province. This caused a rush of tourists. As a result of thousands of vehicles entering the city, all routes in Murree in Rawalpindi district were blocked, leaving the tourists stranded. There were 1,000 cars stuck on the hill station while the Punjab chief minister issued orders to expedite rescue efforts. He also issued orders to provide aid to the stranded tourists, reported the Dawn newspaper.

Rescue 1122 reported that at least 21 people had died, including nine children. Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed shock and sadness over the tragic death of tourists on the Murree Road. ‘Unprecedented snowfall & rush of ppl proceeding without checking weather conditions caught district admin unprepared. Have ordered inquiry & putting in place strong regulation to ensure prevention of such tragedies,’ Khan said in a tweet.

The military has been mobilized for the purpose of clearing roads and rescuing trapped people, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid said in a video message. After heavy snowfall caused havoc in Murree, the Punjab government has declared it a calamity-hit area. Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has ordered the government’s offices and rest houses to open for stranded tourists due to the chaos and emergency situation.

The Pakistan Meteorological Department had forecast heavy snowfall in Murree and Galiyat from January 6 to 9. There have been thousands of trapped tourists on the roads in the area since last night, including women and children. However, police were trying to restore traffic flow to the roads. Opposition politicians accused the government of inadequate preparation and handling of the tourist influx.

As the rain lashed the federal capital and Rawalpindi for the fourth consecutive day on Friday, many people were stranded and flights faced delays. The district administration banned the entry of more vehicles into Murree because of continuous snowfall and traffic congestion. The snowfall began Tuesday night and continued at regular intervals, attracting thousands of tourists. In spite of this, many families ended up stranded on roads due to the rush of visitors. Over 100,000 vehicles entered the hill station.


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