Four women and a four-year-old boy were among those killed in the disaster near the Short Pass in northern Pakistan, police said.
At least 11 people have been killed after an avalanche struck members of nomadic tribes traveling through Pakistan’s northern mountains, Pakistan’s disaster management agency said.
“Due to the effects of climate change, such incidents are increasing in Pakistan,” Pakistani Prime Minister Sheikh Baz Sharif said in a statement on Saturday.
Pakistan, which has faced record monsoon rains and melting glaciers in its northern mountains in recent years, is among the top 10 countries at risk of natural disasters due to rising temperatures.
Sharif called on the international community to fulfill its responsibility to save developing countries facing economic challenges from the adverse effects of climate change.
The incident took place near the Shuent Pass, which connects the Gilgit-Baltistan region to Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
Gilgit-Baltistan, sometimes called the land of glaciers, has seen frequent avalanches and avalanches in recent years due to melting glaciers.
Senior police officer Ziarat Ali told The Associated Press that four women and a four-year-old boy were among the dead.
Ali said the nomads were trapped by the avalanche while walking their goat herd from Azad Kashmir’s Kerr district to Astore early in the morning.
The disaster management agency said the bodies of the victims had been recovered. It added that 13 injured people, including a child, were taken to a local hospital in critical condition.
There were about 35 nomads in the group, rescue official Subah Khan told AFP. Initial assessments indicated that as many as 15 cattle also died.
Located at an altitude of 4,420 meters (14,501 ft), the Shunter Pass connects the Astorey district of the Gilgit-Baltistan region with the bordering Kashmir valley.
Adverse weather conditions have hampered rescue operations and made access to remote sites difficult. Residents are leading rescue operations in hard-to-reach areas, Muhammad Riaz, a police officer in the area, told AFP.
Gilgit Chief Minister Khalid Kourshid imposed a state of emergency in hospitals in the region’s main cities of Gilgit and Skardu.
Rising temperatures are rapidly melting glaciers in Pakistan’s northern mountains, leading to the formation of 3,044 glacial lakes in the provinces of Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, according to the United Nations.
The country faces flash floods in the summer of 2022 that will kill more than 1,700 people and affect 33 million.