Avalanche in Pakistan kills at least 11

Gilgit Baltistan, sometimes referred to as the land of glaciers, has frequently seen avalanches and snow landslides in recent years due to climate change. (Photo: Abdul Majeed/AFP/File)

At least eleven persons were killed when an avalanche struck a nomadic tribe crossing a mountainous region in northern Pakistan, according to the country's disaster management agency.

"Such incidents are on the rise in Pakistan due to climate change," Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said in a Saturday statement.

Pakistan, which has experienced unprecedented monsoon rains and glacier melt in the northern mountains in recent years, is one of the top ten countries at risk of natural disasters due to rising temperatures.

Sharif urged the international community to fulfill its duty to protect developing nations confronting economic difficulties from the negative effects of climate change.

The incident occurred near the Shounter Pass, which connects Gilgit-Baltistan to Kashmir under Pakistani administration.

Due to glacial erosion, Gilgit Baltistan, known as the land of glaciers, has experienced frequent avalanches and snow landslides in recent years.

Senior police officer Ziarat Ali told the Associated Press that four women and a four-year-old child were among the deceased.

Ali stated that the nomads were walking their herds of goats from the Kel region of Azad Kashmir to Astore while trapped in the early morning snow avalanche.

According to the disaster management agency, the victims' corpses have recovered. It was also stated that thirteen people, including infants, were transported to a hospital in critical condition.

Subah Khan, a rescue official, told AFP that the party consisted of approximately 35 nomads. Initial estimates indicated that up to 15 cattle perished.

The 4,420-meter-high Shounter Pass connects the Astore district of Gilgit-Baltistan to the neighboring Kashmir Valley.

The rescue operation was impeded by severe weather conditions, making reaching the remote scene difficult. Muhammad Riaz, a local police official, told AFP that residents were leading the rescue operation in the difficult-to-access region.

Khalid Khurshid, the chief minister of Gilgit Baltistan, declared a state of emergency in the hospitals of the region's two major cities, Gilgit and Skardu.

According to the United Nations, rising temperatures are swiftly melting glaciers in Pakistan's northern mountain ranges, forming 3,044 glacial lakes in Gilgit Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces.

In the summer of 2022, the nation experienced flash floods that killed over 1,700 people and afflicted 33 million.

Publish : 2023-05-28 08:02:00

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