Five border traders, known as kolbars, who earn their living by transporting goods across Turkey’s borders, are missing after an avalanche in the region.
The avalanche occured on 18 January in the Elbak district of Van (Wan) on the Turkey-Iran border. Molai Xudai, Pirat Xudai, Bilen Ehmedi, Yaver Eslani and Metin Eslani have been buried under the snow, according to information shared by their families.
The relatives of missing kolbars said the avalanche took place in rural areas of the Xaşkan neighbourhood, and that better weather conditions were needed in order to carry out a rescue search.
67 kolbars lost their lives in 2020
According to the latest data from Kolbarnews, 67 kolbars lost their lives in 2020 as a result of attacks by Turkish and Iranian soldiers, while 163 kolbars were injured. Data shows that 53 of 67 kolbars were killed by Iranian soldiers and six were killed by Turkish soldiers.
The Kurdistan Human Rights Association’s data shows that in the last three years at least 245 kolbars have died while working and more than 300 have been injured. In 2019, 35 kolbars died on the Iran-Turkey border.