Page last updated at 17:26 GMT, Thursday, 18 February 2010

Pakistan avalanche buries village and kills at least 38

Map of Kohistan in north-west Pakistan

At least 38 people are dead after an avalanche buried an entire village in north-west Pakistan.

The avalanche hit a remote village in Kohistan district, about 200km (124 miles) north of Islamabad.

Local government head Aminul Haq told the BBC that the eventual death toll could exceed 56, as many others are missing.

According to most recent reports from the area, 38 bodies had been dug up by the villagers before sunset, he said.

The regional police chief said roads had been blocked by landslides and several feet of snow.

"Rescue workers are facing a lot of problems," a local police official was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.

"We fear that some women and children were also trapped," Mohammad Sadiq told AFP.

Increased risk

Avalanches are common in the mountains of Pakistan.

The village of Bagaro Serai in the Kandia Valley is so remote that it took hours for news to get out, the BBC's Aleem Maqbool in Islamabad says.

Rescuers are trying to find survivors, but conditions are poor.

A helicopter that flew in from Peshawar with relief goods could not reach the area due to bad weather.

Heavy snow over the past two weeks has meant an increased risk of avalanches across northern Pakistan.

On Monday, a mass of snow killed seven people about 150km from Bagaro Serai, local police said.

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