Pakistan

Pakistan: Heavy rain, snowfall and avalanches - Situation Report No. 03 (17 - 20 January 2020)

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This report is produced by OCHA Pakistan in collaboration with humanitarian partners. It covers the period from [17 to 20 January 2020].

105 People Died

96 People Injured

1,295 Houses Damaged

Highlights

  • The number of people who died in the recent snow spell has increased to 105, with the highest reported in PAK (78) and Balochistan (20). NDMA has reported that the damage to houses has significantly increased from 200 to 1,295 mostly located in Balochistan (1,057) during the reporting period. While the total number of affected people is still not confirmed by the authorities.

  • A state of emergency was declared by Balochistan Government in eleven (11) districts - Quetta, Ziarat, Pishin, Kila Abdullah, Kachhi (Kolpur area), Mastung, Harnai, Kila Saifullah, Loralai, Kalat and Kech after a spell of heavy rain and snowfall across the province. According to Met department, another westerly wave of rain/snowfall is expected to enter Balochistan in the last week of January which could further aggravate the situation. The department is monitoring the situation and will issue weather alerts to the relevant authorities for timely action.

  • Rescue efforts are ongoing and major highways and link roads are being cleared in the affected provinces, however access to remote areas / villages is extremely limited.

  • Humanitarian agencies and N/PDMA have decided to carry out a rapid needs assessment to understand the needs and funding requirements across sectors in the affected areas while response is ongoing by the authorities, NGOs and the UN.

Situation Overview

The people of north and south-west provinces of Pakistan namely Balochistan and Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PAK), Gilgit Baltistan (GB) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) faced an unexpected heavy spell of rain/snowfall and avalanches during the last week. Most of the areas are cut off with limited access to remote areas in the affected districts.

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has asked humanitarian agencies and partners to support them in the ongoing response with food items, winterized tents, warm clothing, blankets/quits and NFIs in addition to heavy machinery to clear snow, dewatering pumps and power generators.

As rapid assessment conducted by Pakistan Red Crescent Society in Neelum district, PAK shows that a total population of 910 families (6,370 individuals) have been affected by avalanches and landslides while another 3,134 families (21,938) are indirectly affected due to heavy snow. The total population of the district is 190,333 families. The affected families are living with the host families and no communal camps have been established by authorities to date.

The road accessibility is the major challenge in the affected areas of Neelum district. Heavy snow, avalanches and land sliding has caused severe blockade of roads infrastructure in the district. The main road of Athmuqam (district headquarters) to Sharda was blocked from different areas that has affected the supply chain of local vendors. In the current situation markets are not easily accessible by the affected communities because of blocked roads. The affected areas are only accessible by helicopter.

Similarly, in Balochistan, most of the villages in remote areas are also not accessible as roads are blocked by heavy snow and affected communities require food, warm clothing, cooking fuel and NFIs to survive the harsh the weather. In absence of proper clothing, shelter and health care in the affected areas, the affected people, particularly children and elderly are vulnerable to pneumonia and respiratory infections.

Astor valley in Gilgit Baltistan has received the heaviest snow spell in a 100 years history, isolating the region from the rest of the country.

Khyber Pakhtunkwa is in the grip of cold wave following rain and snowfall in Hazara and Malakand divisions.

All access roads to Chitral, including the Lowari Tunnel, are blocked while water and electricity supplies are also disrupted.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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