Severe Weather Hampers Pakistan Avalanche Rescue Efforts

Posted April 13th, 2012 at 6:40 am (UTC-5)
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Severe weather has hampered the rescue efforts in northern Kashmir were hundreds of rescue workers are searching for 135 Pakistani soldiers and civilians who were buried in an massive avalanche last week at a military base.

The military said Friday the low temperatures are affecting the heavy machinery being used to dig though the snow and ice in the high-altitude Siachen Glacier region, which was pummeled by a 20-meter wall of snow Saturday.

Troops are attempting to dig a horizontal tunnel at the base of the main excavation site to reach what is thought to be one of the camp buildings.

Search teams are looking for the trapped soldiers and civilians in at least five locations in the region.

Experts have warned it is unlikely any survivors will be found.

Pakistan and India have thousands of troops stationed on either side of Siachen, which has been violently disputed since 1984, when Indian troops seized the heights of the 78-kilometer-long glacier. But the region has been calm in the last decade, with the inhospitable climate and avalanche-prone terrain claiming more lives than gunfire.

Critics have long urged India and Pakistan to pull their troops from the Siachen region, calling it a “pointless conflict.”