Pakistan: Avalanche kills dozens in Kashmir village

Dozens of bodies were pulled from the wreckage of a village in Pakistan's Kashmir province on Tuesday after an avalanche hit overnight.

In a statement, Pakistan's national disaster agency confirmed that the avalanche had struck a village in Pakistani Kashmir's Neelum Valley, killing at least 41 people. A further 15 people were killed in neighboring Afghanistan. At least 10 people were still missing.

Four soldiers and five civilians were also killed in separate avalanches in India-administered Kashmir, Indian defense and police officials said Tuesday.

Read more: Kashmir: Is Pakistan planning to take direct control over its part?

The avalanches were likely triggered by severe rain and snowfall that has plagued the region in recent days, claiming at least 126 lives in Pakistan and Afghanistan since Sunday.

Pakistani Kashmir declared a state of emergency for the affected areas on Tuesday morning, the minister for the disaster management authority in the area Ahmadd Raza Qadri said.

"Rescuers are facing difficulties in reaching the stricken villages," he said.

Evacuations via military helicopter were underway as most highways remained closed and rescuers struggled to reach people cut off by snowfall and avalanches.

Some parts of Pakistan are under six inches of snow and around 300 houses were damaged by snowfall, avalanches, and landslides. Temperatures on Monday reached -15 degrees Celsius (-5 degrees Fahrenheit).

kp/rt (AP, AFP, dpa)

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