DUSHANBE, December 22, Asia-Plus -- At least 15 people have been killed in a huge avalanche in the Varzob district

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) said the avalanche occurred on the 67th kilometer of the highways from Dushanbe to Khujand Friday night, at around 24:00 in local time.  

The source at a MoI said that the avalanche had buried several cars, and “exact number of people buried under the avalanche is not yet known.”

Rescue team of the Committee for Emergency Situations, specialists from the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC) as well police are involved in the search efforts on the site.  

The MoI source further added that it could not be ruled that the avalanche death toll might rise.  

In the meantime, Mahmadullo Halimov, the first deputy head of the Committee for Emergency Situations, told Asia-Plus that there were no communications with the rescue team and the committee had information only about two killed in the avalanche.    

It is the fourth avalanche to occur in the Varzob district over the several pst days following recent rains. 

As it had been reported earlier, three avalanches blocked in several places the highway from Dushanbe to Khujand Thursday night.  According to the MoTC, the avalanches occurred on the 55th, 56th, and 59th kilometer of the highway, trapping some 60 vehicles.  No serious damage or injured was reported, according to the source.  The highway was cleared of snow by Friday evening and road was opened for traffic.