At least 16 people were killed and several others went missing in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir in separate incidents of avalanches in the last 24 hours, a senior official said on Tuesday.
Imtiaz Ahmad, commissioner of the Muzaffarabad division, told Xinhua that more than 10 people were reported missing and feared dead as rescue efforts were underway, adding that most of the casualties were reported from Neelum Valley of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.
Dozens of houses, vehicles and shops were also damaged in avalanches, landslides and other rain-related incidents, he added.
According to the official, in one of the incidents, a huge mass of snow hit some 10 children when they were on their way to school in Lawat village of the valley, killing three of them on the spot while injuring several others.
Similarly, six people lost their lives and scores of others were trapped when an avalanche struck six houses in Dakki Chaknar area of the valley. Rescue efforts were underway to retrieve the trapped people.
Leaders of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir expressed deep grief and sorrows over the incidents and directed the authorities concerned to accelerate rescue and relief missions in the rain and snow-hit areas.