By Aamir Latif
KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) – Hundreds of vehicles were trapped after landslides triggered by massive rains and flooding in several parts of southwest Pakistan blocked portions of a key highway, authorities said on Sunday.
The epicenter of the overnight torrents and flashfloods was the Sulaiman Mountains range, which sits on the borders of northeastern Punjab, northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and southwestern Balochistan provinces, said a statement from the Balochistan's Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA).
Balochistan's northern districts, including Chaman, Loralai, Sherwani, and Zhob, were the hardest hit, where rains and flashfloods inundated roads and streets, aside from submerging several portions of the N-50 Highway that connects Balochistan with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, apart from the capital Islamabad.
Torrential rains also triggered landslides at different points of the highway, and adjacent roads suspending traffic.
The National Highway Authority said that it will take another 24 to 30 hours to clear N-50 Highway, even for the light traffic as the clearance operation was facing difficulties due to the mountainous terrain.
Hundreds of vehicles were trapped on both sides of the highway as the administration backed by heavy machinery launched an operation to clear the blocked points.
Visuals aired on local broadcaster Geo News showed a portion of the highway strewn with small and giant pieces of rocks as passengers of the trapped vehicles stood in small groups on both sides of the road.
Another footage showed craters caused by rains and landslides at different points of the highway, whereas a portion of the road also caved in.
There was no immediate report of major casualties, the PDMA said, adding that however seven persons were injured by the landslides.