ISLAMABAD,(Reuters) – An avalanche in northwestern Pakistan caused by an earthquake aftershock has killed 24 people, police said on Friday.
Those killed in Wednesday”s avalanche were villagers who had been digging for gemstones on a remote mountainside in Kohistan, a district of North West Frontier Province.
"All of them were buried," police officer Azhar Nawaz told Reuters.
North West Frontier Province was badly hit by an earthquake on Oct. 8 that killed more than 73,000.
Nawaz said provincial authorities believed the avalanche had been caused by aftershocks in the area, which is about 250 km (160 miles)north of Islamabad.
"It has been hit by several aftershocks in the past week and there was one on the day of the avalanche," he said.
Nawaz said an army rescue team had dug out 16 bodies, and eight others were recovered by villagers.
Pakistan has been shaken by more than 1,500 aftershocks since the Oct. 8 quake, but most have caused no damage or injuries.
A major international relief effort is under way to prevent more deaths over the winter in remote mountain communities.