Around 20 people on a trekking route in Nepal have died with more feared dead following severe blizzards on Wednesday 15th October. Dozens have been reported missing in the storms and subsequent avalanches which occurred over the Annapurna Circuit of Central Nepal.
In the aftermath of the avalanche tragedy on Everest in April this year (UKC Article) - in which 16 Sherpas were killed - this is the second disaster to strike the Himalayan mountain range in 2014.
Despite an initial rescue effort succeeding in saving 22 people, operations were ceased by the Nepali police and army officials later in the day due to an accumulation of snow and avalanche debris deemed too treacherous to access.
Due to the month of October normally offering prime conditions for trekking in Nepal, almost half of the people missing are believed to be foreign trekkers exploring the region in its peak trekking season.
A Facebook page has been set up to help affected families and share information on the disaster.
More information to follow as the story unfolds.
UPDATE: Friday 17th October, 1:40pm
Recent reports suggest that the death toll is now over 30, after rescuers were eventually able to access the affected areas and recover bodies and injured survivors situated on the descent of the Thorong La pass. Small groups of trekkers have been rescued by helicopters deployed in the area, some being trapped in basic shelters and others seeking refuge in camps and hostels. The causes of death in the majority of cases are reported to be exposure and fatal injury due to avalanche conditions. Among the dead are Nepalese, Canadian, Polish, Israeli, Indian and German nationals. The rescue mission will continue to widen as trekkers and local people remain missing.
A cyclone which recently hit Northern India has been blamed for causing the storms which occurred on Tuesday.