52 rescued after cloud burst wreaks havoc in Pakistan-administered Kashmir

The Pakistani military rescued 52 people in a remote village of Pakistan’s Neelum Valley where torrential rains triggered off by a cloudburst wreaked havoc in the region, an Army statement said on Tuesday.

According to the the army’s media wing Inter-Services Public Relations, the 52 individuals have been evacuated to camps and safer places. Search operation for drowned persons is in progress, Xinhua news agency reported.

Local media reports said that 22 people — two security personnel, nine locals and 11 preachers who were staying in a mosque were killed after being wiped out by flashflood in the region on Monday.

The State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) is leading the operation with assistance of the federal National Disaster Management Authority and the military.

Talking to Xinhua, Saeed ur Rehman Qureshi, director of operations at the SDMA, confirmed that 150 houses and two mosques were washed away by the flashflood.

He added that the cloudburst took place in a remote village in the region so the killed or trapped people did not include any local or foreign tourist, except the preachers who were swept away with the mosque.

Explaining the cloudburst, Muhammad Riaz, the Director General of the Pakistan Meteorological Department, told Xinhua that such weather pattern is very rare, occurring during the monsoon season and it happens when warm air mixes with cold monsoon air.

He added that sometimes monsoon clouds get burst by mountains coming in their way, and the rain which has to scatter in a larger area pours down in a narrow radius.