At least 21 people have died of hypothermia in Pakistan, including nine children, after they were stranded by heavy snowfall near a mountain resort town.
Officials say a large number of tourists were stuck in a traffic jam overnight from January 7 to 8 due to snowfall and freezing weather in Murree, in the eastern Punjab Province.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said in a video message on January 8 that around 1,000 vehicles were stranded at a hill station and that the authorities were working to free them. He said many people died inside their automobiles.
Ahmed blamed the incident in part on the unusually high number of tourists who had traveled to the winter resort town, access to which is often blocked by snow in the winter.
Ahmed said that residents of Murree provided food and blankets to stranded tourists, adding that the administration had closed all routes to the hill station and was now allowing only vehicles delivering food and blankets.
The provincial government in Punjab Province has declared a state of emergency and more snow is expected.