At the weekend, up to 135 Pakistani soldiers were buried by an avalanche at Siachen glacier in the mountains of Kashmir. With the support of the Federal Foreign Office, a team of six experts from the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) arrived in Islamabad in the early hours of the morning to support local rescue workers. A spokesperson of the Federal Foreign Office issued the following statement in Berlin today (10 April):
“Foreign Minister Westerwelle was shocked to receive the news of the terrible avalanche accident at Siachen glacier in Kashmir. It goes without saying that Germany will support Pakistan in the search for its soldiers. We hope that, with the help of the German team, it will be possible to rescue survivors and recover the bodies of those killed in the remote mountain area.
This tragedy once more shows the high price to be paid if conflicts in this region persist. The Federal Government hopes that it will be possible to settle these conflicts by political means as soon as possible.”
The THW experts were sent at the request of the Pakistani authorities; the operation was launched within just a few hours over the Easter weekend. Transfer from Islamabad to the site of the accident has been delayed by difficult weather conditions. It is scheduled to take place before the end of the day if the weather improves. The German experts are equipped with modern sensor technology including a thermal imaging camera and sound locators.