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Death toll reaches 23 in Murree as Army deployed to rescue stranded tourists amid heavy snowfall

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ISLAMABAD: Government of Pakistan deployed personnel of the Army and other civil-armed forces for rescue operations in Murree following the tragic deaths of more than 23 tourists who died in their vehicles after being stranded due to heavy snowfall in famous hill station on Friday night.

The death of a four-year-old girl has pushed the toll to 23rd. She was suffering from severe cold and pneumonia, she lost her life as she could not be rushed to the hospital in time. according to rescue sources.

Minister for Interior, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, said that the deaths were caused due to “suffocation”.

According to State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), heavy machinery has been sent to rescue tourists in Murree.

It also said that machinery has been sent to the Lower Topa area.

General officer Commanding of Pakistan Army Murree Division, Maj Gen Wajid Aziz told local media that military police personnel stared relief and rescue efforts by helping the traffic with local administration.

He said, “Early morning as reports of road blocks received Army troops launched a large-scale rescue operation on the directive of Army Chief and two relief camps have been established in Army Public School in Kaldana where 60 families have been shifted and 250 personnel including women and children moved to 2nd camp was in Station Supply Depot in Sunny Bank area on Saturday night.”

Managed to reopen the Express way by over all military engineers’ efforts with Frontier Works Organization (FWO) heavy machinery, moved from Rawalpindi, and the help of civil administration, He added.

Maj Wajid said, whatever the weather is operation will continue till the last tourist reaches at a safe place.

Meanwhile, 22 bodies including Naveed Iqbal, a police official of Capital city police who died in Murree, and his 7 family members were taken to Islamabad.

These included the bodies of Naveed’s four children, his sister, his niece and his nephew.

The Punjab government, eastern province, has declared Murree as a calamity-hit area after heavy snowfall wreaked havoc in the city. Taking notice of the chaos and emergency situation, Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has directed to open the government’s offices and rest houses for the stranded tourists.

He directed to provide every possible relief to the tourists and accelerate the ongoing rescue operation to evacuate the people from the hill station.

The chief minister ordered to move additional resources from Rawalpindi and other cities to Murree to speed up the relief operation.

CM Buzdar also directed to send his official helicopter to Murree for the rescue mission.

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