Avalanche kills 11 in Gilgit-Baltistan

F.P. Report

ASTORE: In a devastating incident on Friday evening, a snow avalanche swept through the Shounter top area of district Astore in Gilgit Baltistan, resulting in the loss of at least 11 lives and leaving 13 others injured.

The Deputy Inspector General of Police for the Diamer-Astore Division, Tufail Mir, confirmed the casualties and informed that a control room has been established in the district to coordinate rescue efforts and aid in the recovery of individuals trapped under the debris.

Rescue teams swiftly mobilized to the site and are currently engaged in the challenging task of extracting people from beneath the snow. As per the latest report from the Gilgit Baltistan Disaster Management Authority (GBDMA), eight bodies have been recovered by Rescue 1122, the district administration, and local volunteers. The search for the remaining victims is still underway.

The injured individuals, described as being in critical condition, have been evacuated to DHQ Hospital Astore for urgent medical treatment. According to the GBDMA, the unfortunate incident occurred when a group of 25 people from the Gujjar family, accompanied by their livestock, were en route from Kashmir to Astore and were caught in the path of the avalanche.

The Fore Command Northern Areas (FCNA) has dispatched relief items and para-medical staff via helicopter, but their arrival at the site has been delayed due to inclement weather. The GBDMA, along with the DDMA and other line agencies, has supplied essential relief items such as tents and food packs to assist those affected.

The district administration is closely monitoring the rescue operation, and an emergency has been declared at DHQ Hospital Astore, PHQ & RHQ Gilgit, and CMH Skardu. Local authorities, health departments, and Rescue 1122 are actively involved in the on-site operations. Expressing profound sadness and condolences, Gilgit Baltistan Chief Minister Khalid Khurshid Khan has directed the local authorities to initiate immediate rescue measures.

Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday expressed deep sorrow and grief over the loss of precious lives in an incident of avalanche in Shuntar Top area of Astore. At least 11 people have lost their lives, and 26 others sustained injuries in a snow avalanche that hit Astore district, Gilgit Baltistan on Saturday.