Driver of autoloader Tughyon Umarov, 63, has been killed in an avalanche in the Varzob district, according to the press center of the Branch of the Innovative Road Solutions (IRS) in Tajikistan, which operates the toll on the Dushanbe-Khujand-Chanak highway.

The tragedy occurred yesterday on the 65th kilometer of the highway connecting Dushanbe and Khujand, the capital of the northern province of Sughd.  The avalanche reportedly buried the autoloader. 

Rescuers pulled out Umarov’s body of snow and transported to his native village of Ziddi in the Varzob district.

Meanwhile, the Emergencies Committee says the Dushanbe-Khujand highway remains closed for traffic.  It is still unknown when the highway will reopen for traffic. 

The Emergencies Committee advises the people not to travel to mountain areas unnecessarily as the risk of further avalanches remains high.  

Recall, at least eight people were killed in snow avalanches in Tajikistan last month.  More than 110 snow-slides were registered in the country in January.

The Emergencies Committee has reportedly set up mobile rescue teams numbering 4 to 6 people each to closely monitor the situation and ensure safety of traffic on the most vulnerable sections of the highways connecting Dushanbe and Khujand (the 62nd and 72nd kilometers in the Varzob district) and the highway connecting Dushanbe and Khorog (the 457th kilometer in the Vanj district, GBAO).  

Besides, rescuers from the Emergencies Committee’s office in Rasht Valley (eastern Tajikistan) jointly with members of the Unified Disaster Warning System in the Rasht zone are closely monitoring the situation on the roads in the area.

Mountains cover 93 percent of Tajikistan, and avalanches and mudslides kill dozens of people.