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Avalanche kills 13 in northern Pakistan

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
An elderly Kashmiri villager walks through snow in Gund, some 70 kilometers northeast of Srinagar, January 25, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

An avalanche has killed more than a dozen people in Pakistan’s northern state of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Late on Saturday, the avalanche buried five homes following heavy snowfall in the town of Chitral in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Nizamud Shah, the commander of Chitral Scouts force said on Sunday.

Rescuers retrieved 13 bodies, and efforts were underway to reach possible survivors, Shah said, adding that several people were still missing.

The town is at the foot of Tirich Mir, the highest peak of the mountainous region of Hindu Kush, which is 7,708 meters high.

A series of avalanches has struck the neighboring Indian-administered Kashmir in recent days, killing 25 people.

The mountainous region is witnessing one of the most severe winters in recent decades. It has been experiencing heavy snow and temperatures dropping to sub-zero degrees Celsius.

Authorities have warned of the possibility of more avalanches and advised residents in mountainous areas not to venture out.

Dozens of Indian and Pakistani troops stationed in the mountainous region are killed almost every winter by avalanches.

Casualties in Afghanistan

In neighboring Afghanistan, heavy snow has also led to numerous casualties caused by avalanches, collapsed roofs, and road accidents.

In Afghanistan’s Badakhshan Province, over the past two days, as many as 19 people were killed and 17 injured, said Naweed Frotan, a spokesman for the provincial governor.

The government was working to reach at least 12 districts in Badakhshan that had been completely cut off, he added.

Heavy snow also blanketed the Afghan capital of Kabul, where the government closed its offices.

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