The Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO) government has written on its Facebook page that a power rationing is expected to be introduced in the region. 

“Continues heavy snowfall have caused a large avalanche in Wuzh village, Shugnan district that blocked the Ghund River,” the GBAO government wrote on its Facebook page on February 17.  

“This will lead to a gradual decrease in the water level at the Pamir-1 hydropower plant, and in case of necessity, power supply will be limited.  Once the situation stabilizes, the restriction will be lifted,” says a statement released by the GBAO government. 

According to data from the Emergencies Committee under the Government of Tajikistan, 44 avalanches came down in territories of Darvoz, Vanj, Rushan, Shugnan, Roshtqala and Ishkashim districts of the GBAO on February 16.

Avalanches in the 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 seven university students.

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.    

According to the Emergencies Committee, an avalanche that occurred in Gozhak village of Gharibsho Shabozov jamoat in Shugnan district on February 16 at 3:30 pm killed a 16-year-old girl, bringing the death toll from avalanches in the GBAO to 16.

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.   

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.