INTRODUCTION: Avalanche is a rapid flow of snow down of a slope, such as a mountain or a hill. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the traumas of the victims who were hospitalized in two avalanche disasters that occurred in Van province, Turkey on February 4 and 5, 2020.
METHODS: On February 4-5, 2020, two avalanche disasters occurred in Van province, Turkey. The data of all victims were gathered from hospital records and register of Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency of Turkey retrospectively. Victims who were treated and died in the avalanche area were excluded from the study.
RESULTS: At two avalanches, 126 victims were affected. The mean age of the hospitalized victims (50 victims) was 36.84±10.70 (18-61), 48 were male. 15 victims were affected (8 alive, 7 death) at the first avalanche, while 111 were affected (76 alive, 35 death) at the second avalanche. The burial time was nearly 90 minutes in the first avalanche and 30 minutes in the second avalanche. The most common pathology was scalp laceration in 12 (24%) victims. 46 (92%) victims were treated with medical treatment. The overall mortality of two avalanches was 33.3%, while the mortality rate of the first avalanches was 46.7%. No complications or mortality occurred in any patient admitted to the hospital.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: Avalanche disaster is a serious problem and requires early access to the area to shorten the burial time. Early access provides early intervention. Early intervention was delayed due to weather conditions and mortality rates increased.