Avalanches caused by heavy snow have killed at least 16 people in Tajikistan. 

As it was reported earlier, an avalanche that came down in Nosir-Khusrav neighborhood unit of Khorog, the capital of the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO), Wednesday morning destroyed four houses and partially damaged 35 others, killing thirteen people.  Twelve other people reportedly sustained various injuries.

Most of the dead are residents of GBAO’s Murgab district who were renting a house in Khorog.   Among the victims are also residents of Khorog itself, Tsorsh village of Roshtqala district and Derzoud village of Rushan district.

Among those injured by the avalanche are also residents of Murgab district, Khorog as well as Roshtqala and Ishkashim districts.   

The Emergencies Committee under the Government of Tajikistan has said the rescue phase came to an end in Khorog on February 16, while the search operation is under way.  

Meanwhile, the evening news of the GBAO Regional TV Station in Russian reported Wednesday 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

According to the Emergencies Committee, one more person was killed by an avalanche in Varzob district on a highway linking Dushanbe with the northern city of Khujand, the capital of Sughd province.

An avalanche came down Wednesday morning on the 65th kilometer of the Dushanbe-Khujand highway, trapping four cars.  The passengers and drivers were saved.  Unfortunately, one of the drivers died.  

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