Avalanche kills 11 members of nomadic tribe in northern Pakistan


  • World
  • Sunday, 28 May 2023

Rescuers push a mortuary van through the snow after an avalanche killed members of a nomadic tribe, in Astore, Pakistan May 27, 2023 in this screen grab from a video. Gilgit-Baltistan Information Department/Handout via REUTERS

MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan (Reuters) - At least 11 people died after an avalanche hit members of a nomadic tribe as they crossed a mountainous area in northern Pakistan, the country's disaster management agency said on Saturday.

Another 13 people were injured in the avalanche which struck a group of families at Shounter Top Pass late on Friday. The pass, which is located at 4,420 meters (14,501ft) above sea level, connects the Astore district of the Gilgit-Baltistan region to the bordering Kashmir valley.

The bodies of the victims have been recovered, the agency said in a statement, adding that the injured, including a child, have been taken to a local hospital where they are said to be in a critical condition.

Harsh weather conditions hampered the rescue operation and made access to the remote scene difficult.

In summer, the nomads move goat herds from the plains of Punjab to the high grasslands in the Kashmir valley, and then onwards to the adjoining Gilgit Baltistan through the Shounter Pass.

"Such incidents are rising in Pakistan due to the impact of climate change," Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said in a statement.

Pakistan, which in recent years has faced record monsoon rains and glacier melt in northern mountains, is among the top 10 countries at risk of natural disasters due to the climate change.

Sharif called on the international community to fulfil its responsibility to save developing countries facing economic challenges from adverse effects of climate change.

(Writing by Asif Shahzad; Editing by Mike Harrison)

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