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Avalanche Kills Up To 19 Pakistani Villagers

Pakistan -- Map
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) -- An avalanche buried a remote hamlet in northern Pakistan today killing up to 19 people, police said.

The incident happened about 200 km (124 miles) north of the capital Islamabad.

"Initial reports say about 40 people are stranded while 18 to 19 dead bodies have been recovered by villagers," regional police chief Mohammad Ilyas told Reuters by telephone.

He said the death toll could rise.

Ilyas said the government of the North West Frontier Province has been asked to send helicopters and heavy machinery to evacuate the injured and clear roads.

"Things are very difficult," he said. "Roads are blocked due to landsliding. We have five to six feet of snow. We need urgent help."