9 missing after avalanche hits village near Chitral

9 missing after avalanche hits village near Chitral
Villagers remove debris from houses damaged in severe rain in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Heavy rains have killed at least 79 people since March 9 across Pakistan.

Chitral - Two bodies recovered; eight schoolchildren among missing

By Agencies

Published: Mon 21 Mar 2016, 7:20 PM

 Pakistani rescuers on Sunday found the bodies of two people hit by an avalanche in the mountainous northwest, while nine more remain buried beneath the snow.
The disaster struck on Saturday afternoon near the village of Susam, some 40 kilometres north of the town of Chitral in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, local police station chief Sultan Baig said.
Worried parents and authorities began searching for the ninth grade students when they did not return from school.
"The chances of finding any survivors are very low," said local deputy mayor Mohammed Ali. "But you never know, people have been found alive buried under snow for nearly 20 hours."
Earlier, government officials said a mudslide buried eight teenage students returning home after exams. The spokesman for the local disaster management authority, Latifur Rehman, said on Sunday the incident occurred in Susam village, near the Afghan border, the previous day.
Rehman says the district administration is working with the army, police and paramilitary forces to recover the bodies of the students, who are presumed dead. Two bodies have been recovered so far.
An official of Police Control Chitral Fazaluddin said that soon after the incident, Pakistan Army troops and Chitral scouts rushed to the site in Susam village of Karimabad, where nine people including eight students and a passerby were buried in the avalanche after they were returning home from school after appearing in their examination.
He said so far the rescue teams have recovered two bodies - one of a student and the other of a passerby.
The student had been identified as Mubashir, a 9th grade student, son of Nouroz, residence of Susam, while the passerby had been identified as Rehmat, son of Adina, also from Susam village, Karimabad.
The official said that the rescue operation had been stopped due to bad weather and heavy rain.
The official confirmed that Pakistan Army and scouts launched the operation soon after they were informed about the tragedy.
When asked what time the rescue operation would start again, the official said that as soon as the weather conditions improved rescue work would begin again. - Agencies
More than a week of heavy rain has caused mudslides and the collapse of homes and other structures across northern Pakistan.
The National Disaster Management Authority said landslides and collapsed roofs caused most of the fatalities.
Poorly-built homes, particularly in rural areas, are most prone to collapse. Severe weather hits the country every year, with hundreds killed and huge tracts of prime farmland destroyed in recent years.

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