Snowy Forecast In Murree Once Again: Will The Authorities Be Prepared This Time?

Snowy Forecast In Murree Once Again: Will The Authorities Be Prepared This Time?
Rawalpindi district authorities have reportedly developed a disaster preparedness plan to respond to the forecasted rain and snowfall in Murree for next weekend, following the deadly snowstorm last week which caught the administration flatfooted.

Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Ali said that a 'contingency plan' has been put in place to better manage adverse weather conditions and reduce potential damages.

As part of the plan, two control rooms will be staffed 24-hours-a-day to respond to citizen complaints and provide comprehensive guidance and assistance, as needed.

The control rooms will be set up at the Deputy Commissioner's Office in Rawalpindi and at the Assistant Commissioner's Office in Murree.

The new strategy also prioritizes snow removal and traffic management. During heavy rain or snow, entry into Murree will be restricted, with only 8,000 vehicles permitted through to the tourist destination.

Last weekend, nearly 140,000 vehicles reportedly descended onto Murree, leaving 23 dead when heavy snowfall trapped whole families in their cars.

Recent reports have indicated that the Murree administration could have done more to clear the snow and improve traffic flow.  As the blizzard raged on, 20 snow ploughs sat idle and not in use, while drivers and staff did not report to work that day.

The government has come under criticism for what some have termed an 'insensitive' response as well as a lack of general preparedness or foresight. At a recent hearing in front of the Islamabad High Court, Chief Justice Athar Minallah took to task district and national authorities for what he said was a 'failure' to fulfill their roles.