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Rescue operation continues in Pakistan's snowstorm-hit town

The death toll from heavy snow in a famous hill station near Pakistan’s capital Islamabad rose to 23, as rescue workers backed by army troops struggled overnight to scrap snow off the roads, officials said on Sunday.

Massive snowfall over the past three days buried Murree, a scenic hill station located some 65 Kilometers (40 miles) off Islamabad, and its adjoining valleys under a thick layer of snow, blocking roads, knocking off power, and sending panicked tourists scurrying for shelter.

Thousands of vehicles packed with tourists were trapped due to the snowstorm in the valley and the adjacent areas over the past three days.

At least 23 people, including eight of a family, lost their lives mainly because of cold and lack of oxygen as thousands of vehicles were trapped on different roads in and around Murree over the past two days, forcing the government to call the army in.

Maj. Gen Akhtar Nawaz, head of the National Disaster Management Authority, a state-run agency that coordinates between different relief and rescue agencies, told reporters that rescuers are still working to clear a key road, where most of the deaths occurred.

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