Authorities directed to accelerate operation to rescue stranded tourists in Murree

The authorities concerned of Rawalpindi District administration, Rescue-1122 and Police have been directed to accelerate the ongoing operation to rescue all the stranded tourists in Murree.

According to a district administration spokesman, Commissioner Rawalpindi Division, Gulzar Hussain Shah had reached Murree to monitor the activities to rescue the citizens.

He informed that over 23,000 vehicles stranded due to heavy snowfall had been safely evacuated. The administration was providing food and other essential items to the tourists, he added.

Deputy Commissioner, Rawalpindi, City Police Officer, Rawalpindi, Assistant Commissioners of Murree and Kotli Sattian and other officers remain in the field on Friday night and monitored all the activities launched to rescue stranded tourists. Regional Police Officer, Rawalpindi had also reached Murree on Saturday to monitor relief and rescue operation, he said.

A special control room had also been set up in DC Office and citizens could contact on 051-9269016, 051-9292963 and 03005540819 to get information, he said.

The government of Punjab declared an emergency in the hill station after heavy snowfall and severe traffic congestion on the roads. On the directives of Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar, the administration and police were mobilized and directed to utilize all available resources to rescue stranded citizens.

The entry points were closed on Friday night and the tourists were not being allowed to move towards Murree due to heavy snowfall. He informed that Chief Minister Usman Buzdar had declared emergency in Murree and the CM had also provided his helicopter to rescue the citizens.

All the departments concerned including the administration, Rescue-1122, hospitals and police had been directed to expedite their relief and rescue activities, he said.

Chief Minister had directed Chief Secretary, Punjab, Inspector General of Police, Punjab, Relief Commissioner, Director General, Rescue-1122 and DG Provincial Management Development Authority to expedite the activities to rescue all the stranded citizens on priority basis.

All the rest houses and government offices in Murree and adjoining areas had also been opened for tourists, he said.

DG Rescue-1122 had been directed to immediately reach Murree to lead the rescue operations while snow cutters and other required machinery were being sent to Murree from Rawalpindi and other cities, he informed.

The spokesman informed that total 16 persons in four vehicles trapped due to heavy snowfall on Kuldanna road towards Abbottabad on Friday night were found dead.

The government had taken a decision to close all roads to Murree to restrict the inflow of tourists on Friday night.

The closure of roads to Murree was taken in view of the heavy inflow of tourists who were rushing to the hill resort to enjoy snowfall. The tourists were being diverted to the alternative routes from Murree.

The administration had appealed to tourists not to head towards Murree and Galyat, already packed with a large number of tourists staying in the hilly areas, he said adding, more than 35,000 vehicles entered Murree and Galyat on Friday, causing a disruption in the traffic flow. Murree and Rawalpindi administrations were actively assisting the tourists there, he said.

He informed that difficulties were being faced to clear roads due to heavy snowfall as, nearly three to four feet snowfall was recorded till Friday night.

According to DC Rawalpindi Muhammad Ali, more than 135,000 vehicles had entered Murree amid heavy snowfall in five days, whereas, the electricity supply was also suspended. He urged the citizens not to travel to Murree.

Moreover, some parts of Galyat, Nathia Gali, Thandiyani were hit by snowstorm while landslides blocked Murree Road in Kundla.

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