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12-year-old rescued alive after being buried in snow for 18 hours

Filed on January 17, 2020 | Last updated on January 17, 2020 at 10.42 am
Girl, buried, Pakistan avalanche, 18 hours, found, alive, Samina Bibi,  Neelum Valley
Local residents search for the avalanche victims in the snow in Neelum Valley, in Kashmir.- AFP

Samina Bibi recalled screaming and shouting for help as she lay trapped in a room under the snow.

A 12-year-old girl was found alive on Wednesday, January 15, after being buried for 18 hours when an avalanche in Kashmir engulfed the family house.

Samina Bibi recalled screaming and shouting for help as she lay trapped in a room under the snow.

The death toll from Monday's avalanches in Pakistan's Neelum Valley, rose to 74, according to Pakistani officials, as rescuers continued to recover bodies.

Samina was one of the lucky ones. "I thought I would die there," she told Reuters from a hospital bed in Muzaffarabad, where she and dozens of other injured people were receiving treatment after being airlifted out of the avalanche area.

For Samina's mother, Shahnaz Bibi, who lost a son and another daughter, the rescue was nothing short of a miracle. After being pulled out of the snow earlier, Shahnaz said she and her brother, Irshad Ahmad, had given up hope of finding Samina alive.

Samina said she could not sleep while she waited to be rescued. Her leg was fractured and blood was oozing from her mouth.

For the family, the disaster happened very fast. "We didn't hear a rumble," Shahnaz said, recalling the moments before the avalanche buried the three-storey house where she and her family were sheltering with others from the village. At least 18 of them died.

Samina and her family were huddled round a fire when the avalanche hit. "It happened in the blink of an eye," said Shahnaz.

Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority said the total number of deaths in snow-hit areas in Pakistan over the last couple of days had jumped to 100. More heavy snowfall is expected in the region from Friday.

Another 10 people were killed in the Kashmir valley.


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