Avalanche kills at least 10 in Gilgit-Baltistan

Sunday, May 28, 2023

PESHAWAR: An avalanche killed at least 10 people in a remote area of Gilgit-Baltistan on Saturday, officials said, adding that poor weather and limited accessibility were hampering rescue efforts.

The avalanche, which also injured more than 10 people, happened near the Shounter Pass that connects the Gilgit-Baltistan region with Azad Jammu and Kashmir. “A group of around 35 nomads who were returning from Kashmir had set up camp close to a ravine,” rescue official Subah Khan told AFP. “They were struck by an avalanche late at night that caused at least 10 deaths.” Khan said initial assessments suggest up to 15 head of cattle also died.

The chief secretary of Gilgit-Baltistan’s office also confirmed the causalities in a statement. Muhammad Riaz, a police official from the area, told AFP that residents were taking the lead in the rescue operation in the difficult-to-reach area.

Every year, local nomads, also known as Bakarwals, migrate alongside their herds in search of suitable pastures for their livestock and to evade harsh weather conditions.