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Marmolada avalanche kills at least 6 people amid heat wave in the Dolomites

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At least six people died and eight others were injured following an ice avalanche in the Italian Alps on Sunday, local officials said, as rescuers scoured the Marmolada mountain looking for at least 19 missing hikers.

Italian National Alpine and Underground Rescue Corps said five helicopters and canine units had been deployed to the area, although he expressed concern that more snow, ice and rocks would fall.

Among the missing are 11 Italians, four Czech nationals, three Romanians and a French national, local news agency ANSA said on Monday.

On July 4, rescue operations continued in the Italian Alps after parts of a mountain glacier collapsed, killing at least six people and injuring eight. (Video: Reuters)

The landslide occurred during an early heat wave that saw temperatures soar to around 50 degrees Fahrenheit on Marmolada in recent days. The relief corps said the heat was “abnormal”, the Guardian newspaper reported.

Experts have long warned that avalanches are becoming more frequent as global temperatures rise, saying warming can destabilize mountain climates and accelerate the melting of glaciers.

“Fortunately, the weather conditions are good, but the danger is that there could be further collapses,” a spokesman told Reuters as Italian state television reported that rescuers had seen dead alongside. “huge chunks of ice”.

Glacier collapse occurred near Punta Roccaa route climbers use to reach the summit, Veneto regional governor Luca Zaia said as an alpine rescue unit share an emergency number that people could call if their loved ones did not return from excursions in the region.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi Free condolences and thanked the rescuers. Officials estimated on Monday that up to 16 people may have been swept away in the collapse.

Rising to around 11,000 feet, La Marmolada is the highest peak in the Eastern Dolomites – a UNESCO World Heritage Site estimated to be over 200 million years old. La Marmolada is nicknamed the “Queen of the Dolomites”, a region popular with nature and adventure lovers.

A report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change this year highlighted the devastating impact of climate change, including the irreversible loss of glaciers by the end of this century.

“Mountain regions have always been affected by too much or too little water,” the report says. “Due to climate change, the dangers are rapidly changing and becoming even more unpredictable.”

The increased risk of such hazards forces people in mountainous regions to move, leading to mass displacements in countries such as Thailand, Afghanistan and Peru.

Italian officials said the injured were being treated at hospitals in the cities of Belluno, Treviso, Trento and Bolzano, Reuters reported.

Mountain glaciers could have less ice than expected, straining freshwater supplies

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