Islamabad, March 22: (PR) Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS) Pakistan, an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network, has embarked on an elaborate search and rescue operation in response to an avalanche in Susoom village of Karimabad Valley, Chitral. FOCUS Pakistan’s Search And Rescue Team (SART) in collaboration with the volunteers are involved in the search operations.
The massive avalanche that struck the Susoom village of Karimabad Valley, Chitral on 19th March followed after 48 hours of continuous snowfall and rain trapping nine people including eight students who were returning to their homes. Over the past few days, FOCUS Pakistan alerted local communities through trained Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), general announcements and local radio network on the risk of avalanches.
As part of FOCUS Pakistan’s winter preparations, which began in August 2015, over 159 villages in Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral were classified as avalanche prone. Qualified trainers provided education to at-risk households in these villages. According to Nusrat Nasab, Executive Officer, FOCUS Pakistan, “about 50 weather monitoring posts have been created to anticipate risks based on local weather as well as means of communication were improved in about 35 villages. In addition, pre-positioning of basic emergency response stockpiles were ensured in all these villages as well as early warning to people through radio announcements and distribution of posters.”
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