( dpa ) - Heavy rain and snow on Wednesday brought life to standstill in several areas of Pakistan, particularly in the country's high-elevated northern region, and killed overnight at least 20 people, media reports and officials said.
The severe weather conditions that started over the weekend were expected to continue this week across the country, the Pakistan Meteorological Department said.
Seven officials of the paramilitary Chitral Scouts died on Tuesday evening when an avalanche destroyed their check post in the North-Western Frontier Province's district of Chitral, which lies at the foot of Tirich Mir, the highest peak of the Hindu Kush, 25,289 feet high.
Seven other troops were rescued from the debris and snow, said district police officer Sher Akbar Khan.
In the neighbouring Kaghan valley, some 50,000 people were cut off because avalanches had blocked roads leading out of the area. Severe weather conditions were hampering road clearance work.
In Mansehra district, two women died when heavy rains caused the roof of their house to collapse, Aaj news channel reported.
The Urdu-language Express newspaper said that five people died due to cold weather in Sahiwal of Punjab province, where fog reduced visibility and caused traffic accidents. Three people died when a passenger van collided with a motor rickshaw. Almost freezing temperatures killed three people in Rahim Yar Khan district.
The latest deaths have taken the death toll in rain and snow related accidents to 31 over the last four days.