Avalanches in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region, or GBAO, claimed at least 16 lives as of the evening of February 16.  The dead reportedly are known to include one three-year-old child, three schoolchildren and five university students who were waiting for the bus.

The Emergencies Committee under the Government of Tajikistan reports that an avalanche that occurred in Gozhak village of Gharibsho Shabozov jamoat in Shugnan district yesterday at 3:30 pm killed a 16-year0old girl, bringing the death toll from avalanches in the GBAO to 16.

Her body was pulled from the snow and handed over to relatives, Ms. Umeda Yusufi, a spokeswoman for the Emergencies Committee, said. 

According to her, 44 avalanches came down in territories of Darvoz, Vanj, Rushan, Shugnan, Roshtqala and Ishkashim districts of the GBAO on February 16.

Recall, an avalanche in Khorog claimed at least 13 lives on February 15.  At least 36 buildings, including the premises of the local Afghan consulate, were damaged as well.  The collapse of power lines left Khorog without electricity for around eight hours.  At least nine people were pulled alive from the rubble.  The rescue phase reportedly came to an end in Khorog on February 16, while the search operation is under way.  

Besides, two residents of GBAO’s Vanj district were killed by avalanches the same day.    

Avalanche risk has led to the closure of roads from GBAO’s capital, Khorog, to Dushanbe and GBAO’s districts of Roshtqala, Ishkashim and Murgab.  Work on clearing the roads of the snow is under way.  

One more person was killed by an avalanche on February 15 in Varzob district, on a highway linking the capital, Dushanbe, to Tajikistan’s second city, Khujand.

The Dushanbe-Khujand-Chanak highway has also been closed for traffic due to risk of further avalanches. 

The Emergencies Committee says that yesterday, 11 avalanches came down in some places of the Dushanbe-Khujand-Chanak highway and 14 avalanches occurred in territories of Nourobod, Sangvor, Lakhsh and Tojikobod districts in the Rasht Valley (eastern Tajikistan.  Work is underway to eliminate the consequences of the disaster.