Rescue workers move the body of a victim who died after an avalanche struck the Shounter Pass area in Astore, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan, 27 May 2023. EFE/EPA/STR

Shounter Pass avalanche in northern Pakistan kills 11

Islamabad, May 28 (EFE).- Pakistani authorities said on Sunday that the death toll from an avalanche caused by heavy rains in the country’s northern mountainous region had risen to 11 after emergency services concluded rescue operations.

The avalanche struck the Shounter Pass area in the Astore district of Pakistan’s northern Gilgit-Baltistan region early on Saturday as a nomadic tribe was crossing the mountainous region.

“The total dead are 11 in the avalanche incidents. The Rescue mission is complete,” Fateh Ullah, a government spokesman for the northern Pakistani region of Gilgit-Baltistan told EFE.

Most of the victims were nomads who had brought their cattle from the Punjab province to graze on the green pastures for the summer season.

The Shounter pass connects Azad Kashmir to the Astore district in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Gilgit-Baltistan is home to five out of 14 world peaks that sit 8,000 meters above sea level including the mighty K2.

The region has more than 7,000 glaciers, making Pakistan the country in the world, outside the polar regions, with the largest volume of glacial ice.

Many of the glaciers are melting and receding due to climate change.

The scenic region often sees avalanches, landslides and glacial lake outbursts.

In 2012, 129 Pakistani army soldiers and 11 civilians were buried after a massive avalanche hit their Pakistani military’s regional headquarters in the Gayari sector, near the Siachen Glacier region.

More recently, the country faced flash floods in the summer of 2022 killing over 1,700 people and affecting 33 million.EFE