Thousands of vehicles became stranded in a blizzard Saturday in Pakistan and at least 22 people incuding 10 children are dead overnight in freezing temperatures. They were tourists at Pakistani mountain resort in Murree, some 28 kilometers north of the capital Islamabad. Eight of the 22 fatalities were from the family of fellow Islamabad police officer Naveed Iqbal, who also died. Over 100,000 vehicles entered the hill station as thousands had flocked to enjoy the snow. More than 4 feet (1 meter) of snow fell in the area of the Murree Hills resort overnight Friday and early Saturday. Temperatures fell to minus 8 degrees Celsius (17.6 Fahrenheit). The government called army to evacuate thousands of people who were stuck in the area. Heavy equipment got stuck during the night. Most of the victims died of hypothermia or carbon monoxide poisoning.
The military also converted army-run schools into relief camps where they provided shelter and food for the tourists. Emergency officials distributed food and blankets to people. Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed shock over the “tragic deaths.” “Have ordered inquiry and putting in place strong regulations to ensure prevention of such tragedies,” he wrote on TweeteR. Murree was declared calamity hit. Many Pakistani celebrities expressed their shock and horror. Murree is a popular winter resort that attracts more than a million tourists annually.