DUSHANBE, December 24, Asia-Plus  -- According to the latest information, three persons have been killed in a huge avalanche in the Varzob district. 

Mahmadullo Halimov, the first deputy head of the Committee for Emergency Situations (CES),  told Asia-Plus that a search-and-rescue operation and work on clearing the road of snow had practically been completed and some 100 cars trapped by the snow-slip had been got out of snow captivity.

The emergencies official said the bodies of three people had been recovered after  the snow-slip, dismissing earlier reports on the death of at least 15 people.   

As it had been reported earlier, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) said on December 22 that at least 15 people were killed in the huge avalanche that occurred in the Varzob district, the 67th kilometer of the highway from Dushanbe to Khujand, Friday night, at around 24:00 in local time.   

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

It is the fourth avalanche to occur in the Varzob district last week 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.      

Avalanches and landslides are common in Tajikistan, which is mostly covered by mountains.