Saturday, June 3, 2023

McDonald’s, a Ray of Hope in Murree’s Tragedy

On January 7, 2022, thousands of visitors drove into Murree to enjoy the winter snowfall with their families; little did they know that the anticipated weekend vacation would be nothing short of a deathtrap for many. The ‘Murree Tragedy,’ which occurred on January 8, is recognised as one of the darkest days in Pakistani history.

According to news accounts, around 155,000 automobiles entered Murree during that week, 135,000 of which returned safely, while the others remained trapped on the road towards Murree. The MET Office issued a severe weather warning for Murree and nearby areas from January 6 to 9, 2022, but it was not taken as seriously as it should have been by both the public and the authorities.

Cars entering the city plainly outnumbered the capacity that the authorities could accommodate, resulting in a bumper-to-bumper traffic gridlock in the midst of a severe snowstorm. This not only left the visitors stranded; several of them abandoned their automobiles and went to seek refuge nearby, causing additional concern amongst others.

McDonald’s Murree outlet was a blessing in disguise for people trapped on Murree’s highways. Throughout the night and the next day, as the violent blizzard battered the area, McDonald’s Murree supplied free warm shelter, food, and medicine to the stranded travellers.
McDonald’s Pakistan not only established a precedence, but also provided eye-opening social service. The Murree branch was changed into McDonald’s Crisis Control Center for Government Agencies as a result of their remarkable services that day and an act of kindness by the Murree branch to assist everyone who came to them in desperate need of shelter.

On that fateful day, over 600 people took refuge at McDonald’s. This is the greatest example of humanity that the country has ever seen, as an occurrence of this magnitude had never occurred before, nor had the people or government been educated to deal with such a disaster.

Those who couldn’t get to McDonald’s or a safe location stayed in their cars and switched on the heaters to stay warm. Unfortunately, 23 people died as a result of carbon monoxide inhalation after their exhaust pipes were blocked by snow, allowing the lethal gas to flow and kill them.

People who were able to reach McDonald’s under such circumstances regarded themselves as fortunate and grateful for the compassion that saved their lives and the hospitality that provided them with warm drinks and food items for free all night. Because it is a remarkable job that the nation will always remember and honour.

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