At Least 77 People Killed, 94 Injured After Avalanches Bury Homes in Northeast Pakistan

At least 77 people have been killed and 94 injured in northeast Pakistan after a series of avalanches destroyed and buried houses.

The avalanches were triggered by heavy snowfall in the Neelum Valley, in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, according to local authorities.

Dozens of houses had been wrecked and buried by the snow, with most of those killed and injured in their homes when the avalanches hit, said Ahmad Raza Qadri, state minister for disaster management and rehabilitation, on Tuesday.

The death toll may continue to rise, as there are fears that many people may still be trapped.

In the aftermath, desperate villagers conducted a search and rescue attempt to find those buried in the avalanche, carrying shovels and wading into the deep snow.

Emergency personnel are also on the ground responding to the crisis. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Tuesday he had asked the national disaster agency, the military, and federal ministers to provide humanitarian assistance to the affected residents.

Several of the injured victims were airlifted by army helicopters to the region’s capital, Muzaffarabad, for treatment, and more helicopters will airdrop food and essential supplies to residents cut off by snow.

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SOURCE: CNN, Jessie Yeung, Sophia Saifi and Sajjad Qayyum