Avalanches caused by heavy snow have killed at least 13 people in Khorog, the capital of the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO).

The Emergencies Committee under the Government of Tajikistan said yesterday evening that an avalanche completely destroyed four residential building and partially damaged 35 others in Khorog’s Nosir-Khusrav neighborhood unit, killed at least 13 people.  Twelve other people reportedly sustained various injuries.  Search and rescue operation is under way.

Meanwhile, the evening news of the GBAO Regional TV Station in Russian reported yesterday at 6:00 pm that three avalanches came down in Khorog Wednesday morning.

An avalanche that came down in Khorog’s tem neighborhood unit reportedly destroyed the gas station and canteen at it.  Fortunately no casualties were reported.  

The Emergencies Committee also reported that avalanches killed two other people in GBAO’s Vanj district. 

27 avalanches reportedly occurred in the GBAO during the period from February 13 to February 15. 

To-date, 11 households in Vanj district, 335 households in Rushan district, 17 households in the city of Khorog, 10 households in Shugnan district, and 39 households in Roshtqala district have been evacuated from avalanche-prone areas to safe places. 

Mountains cover 93 percent of Tajikistan’s territory, and avalanches and mudslides kill dozens of people every year. 

The Emergencies Committee warns that warmer temperatures have increased the risk of further avalanches in the country and advises people not to travel to mountain areas unnecessarily.