Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday visited Azad Jammu and Kashmir’s capital Muzaffarabad to review the relief operations in the wake of damages incurred due to rains, snowfall and avalanches, as the death toll from an avalanche that had struck the area a day earlier rose to 76.
The prime minister was given a briefing on the heavy loss of life and property by AJK Chief Secretary Mathar Niaz Rana. He was told that the rain/snowfall in the villages of Surgan, Kel, Lawat and Chaknat caused 67 deaths and 53 injuries, besides damaging 198 houses, 22 shops, one mosque and 12 vehicles. About the response, the prime minister was informed that the state authorities immediately responded with the support of Pakistan Army, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and local volunteers. He was further apprised that four helicopters were engaged in the rescue and relief operation, and shifted the injured to Kel, Sharda and Muzaffarabad hospitals.
The premier was told that financial assistance of Rs150,000 for each family of those who lost their lives, would be provided, with Rs75,000 each for disabled, Rs50,000 each for the injured, Rs100,000 each for damaged houses, Rs50,000 each for damaged shops and Rs100,000 each for damaged vehicles. About the humanitarian relief assistance, the prime minister was informed that a total of 77 tents had been provided to the affected families, including 27 through the NDMA and 50 through the AJK State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) along with 5.5 tons of ration packs (three tons by the NDMA and 2.5 tons by the SDMA), 500 blankets (300 by the NDMA and 200 by SDMA), 200 tarpaulins (NDMA), 150 plastic mats (SDMA), 150 sheets (SDMA), 150 mattresses (SDMA), 150 sleeping bags (SDMA), 250 first aid kits (NDMA, and 50 lanterns (SDMA).
Imran Khan also visited the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) Muzaffarabad and inquired after the health of injured persons. AJK President Sardar Masood Khan and Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider, Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Ali Amin Gandapur and other senior civil and military officials accompanied the prime minister during the visit.
Soon after the incident, the prime minister had directed the NDMA, the military and all the federal ministers to provide humanitarian assistance on an emergency basis to the affected people in AJK. A high-level meeting of the AJK government, chaired by Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider on Tuesday had decided to shift the affected population immediately on a war footing to safer places, besides providing the best available treatment facilities to the injured.
Overall death toll in the country due to heavy snowfall and rains in areas, including AJK, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa crossed 100 with 90 receiving injuries and 213 houses damaged