MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan (AP) – Search teams supported by Pakistani troops pulled 21 more bodies from houses destroyed by this week’s avalanches in the controversial Himalayan region of Kashmir. Officials said Wednesday.
The rescuers ran against the clock to reach dozens of people believed to be still trapped in their homes. Since many roads were still blocked by snow, the authorities used helicopters to evacuate the injured.
The worst affected area was Kashmir’s Neelum Valley, where the 21 bodies were found, said Ahmad Raza Qadri, a minister for disaster management. Since Sunday, 76 people in Kashmir, which is administered by Pakistan, have died in weather events. Another 45 people were killed in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan and the eastern Punjab provinces.
Avalanches are common in Kashmir, which is divided between Pakistan and India and is claimed by both in their entirety.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan flew to Kashmir on Wednesday to visit the avalanche areas. He visited a military hospital in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani-administered cashmere, where several people, including women and children, were treated after being rescued from the Neelum Valley and elsewhere.
In Afghanistan, the situation normalized on Wednesday after days of snowfall, rain and flash floods, in which 39 people died and around 300 houses had been damaged there since Sunday.