Preventing disaster.

SOMETIMES inattention to commonsense precautions is often all that stands between us and disaster. To prevent that, the National Disaster Management Authority has issued guidelines for visitors to tourist sites in the country's north during the current winter season. For one, people planning to travel to mountain retreats like Murree, Gilgit-Baltistan, Kaghan, etc should keep an eye on the weather forecast for their destinations and act accordingly. They should also check for updates on the National Highways and Motorway Police website pertaining to the status of their intended route, and carry basic travel necessities, including dry food, to sustain them and their travel companions for at least a period of 24 hours. Prescription medicines, emergency medical supplies must be taken along, as should warm clothes. Vehicles should be checked so they are not liable to break down en route; fresh air must be kept circulating through the air conditioning system and the exhaust pipe cleared of snow.

These lessons have been learnt after bitter experience. It is nearly one year since the ghastly Murree tragedy in January, which left at least 22 people dead after thousands of vehicles were stranded in a heavy snowstorm on the road leading to the hill station. Several of the victims reportedly froze to death in their cars, while others may have died...

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