PM Imran visits injured in AJK as death toll from cold weather rises to 94

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Our Correspondent

Muzaffarabad

Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Azad Jammu and Kashmir’s (AJK) Muzaffarabad on Wednesday, a day after the region witnessed extreme weather conditions resulting in the deaths of at least 74 individuals.
According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the premier received a briefing from the chief secretary of AJK regarding the damages incurred due to snowfall and avalanches in the region as well as the relief efforts undertaken.
The prime minister also visited the injured at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Muzaffarabad. The hospital was cordoned off and media personnel were not allowed entry while the prime minister conducted his tour.
The death toll in avalanches, landslides and other rain-related incidents during the current spell of a westerly wave weather system across the country has surged to 98, with most of the cases being reported from AJK.
According to figures released by the District Commissioner Office, the weather has killed 74 people and injured 56. Around 88 houses have been completely ruined, while 94 homes have been damaged partially. Seventeen shops have also suffered damages, the DC Office said.
Officials had said the figure could further go up as some areas in the Neelum Valley were still inaccessible due to heavy snowfall, while weather pundits forecast another spell of snowfall beginning on Friday.
The Pakistan Army, in collaboration with civil administration, is also engaged in the rescue and relief efforts in Neelum Valley.
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.
He said: “The severe snowfalls and landslides in AJK have caused misery and deaths. I have asked the NDMA [National Disaster Management Authority], 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, 74 people were killed in the AJK, 20 in Balochistan and at least seven in Sialkot and other districts of Punjab over the past few days.
Further, two more deaths were reported in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB). Rain-related incidents also led to the closure of major roads and highways in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, AJK and Balochistan.