Switzerland sends search and rescue specialists to Pakistan

Article, 09.04.2012

Last Saturday, an avalanche buried a Pakistani military camp situated at an altitude of above 4570 metres near the Siachen glacier in the north of the country. According to Pakistani army sources, 124 soldiers and 11 civilians have been trapped under the avalanche. At the request of the Government of Pakistan, Switzerland sent three rescue experts to the scene of the accident on Monday. Switzerland has an international reputation for its search and rescue expertise in high mountains. The Humanitarian Aid of the Swiss Confederation is co-ordinating the mission.

The Swiss team is made up of the head of mountain rescue in Zermatt, a mountain guide and paramedic, and a dog-handler with an avalanche dog. They will begin work on Tuesday to reinforce the search efforts. The office of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in Islamabad is in close contact with the Pakistani rescue teams.On Sunday and Monday, the search for victims of the avalanche disaster was continued with high intensity. The searchers used heavy equipment to dig through the approximately 25 metres of snow, rocks and mud under which the camp has been buried. Hope of finding survivors is very slight and so far no victims have been located.

Switzerland has been actively involved in development cooperation in Pakistan for more than 40 years. Its activities are focused on combating poverty and supporting especially disadvantaged population groups in the border region with Afghanistan.

Additional information

  • Pakistan
    Switzerland’s development cooperation with Pakistan began in 1966 and for the past 40 years has focu...