Avalanches triggered by warm weather following heavy snowfall have killed at least seven people in Tajikistan's mountainous south.
A spokeswoman for Tajikistan's Emergencies Committee, Umeda Yusufova, told RFE/RL on January 30 that the death toll may rise as rescue teams continue working on the Dushanbe-Khujand highway and in the Gorno-Badakhshan region, where more than 40 major avalanches were registered over the weekend.
Officials said some 500 people stranded in their cars after avalanches blocked the highway were rescued on January 28.
Mountains cover 93 percent of the Central Asian nation, and avalanches and mudslides kill dozens of people every year.
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