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Alpine avalanche leaves 7 known dead, 13 missing in Italy

Baku, July 5, AZERTAC

Thunderstorms hampered Monday the search for more than a dozen hikers who remained unaccounted for a day after a huge chunk of an Alpine glacier in Italy broke off, sending an avalanche of ice, snow and rocks down the slope, according to AP.

Officials put the known death toll at seven.

“I hope the numbers stop here,” said Veneto Gov. Luca Zaia, whose region in northeast Italy borders the Dolomite mountain range including the Marmolada glacier. He spoke in the resort town of Canazei, where a morgue was set up in the ice rink.

Another regional leader, Maurizio Fugatti, said 14 people remained unaccounted for by Monday afternoon: 10 Italians, three from Czechia and one from Austria. Local officials later said that Austrian consular officials had made contact with the Austrian.

The glacier, in the Marmolada range, is the largest in the Dolomite mountains in northeastern Italy. People ski on it in the winter. But the glacier has been rapidly melting away over the past decades, with much of its volume gone.

The Mediterranean basin, which includes southern European countries like Italy, has been identified by U.N. experts as a “climate change hot spot,” likely to suffer heat waves and water shortages, among other consequences.

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