Deadly avalanches in Afghanistan, 119 killed

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
February 6, 2017News

Afghan officials were working on Monday (February 6) to reach remote villages after avalanches and heavy snow killed at least 119 people around the country.

At least 119 people died, 89 were injured in avalanches and by collapsed roofs and traffic accidents, in 22 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces over the past three days, said Wais Ahmad Barmak, Minister of Disaster Management.

“At least 100 people were trapped in Hajigak main road, 200 people on Shibar road and some 500 others were trapped in Muqor highway that we managed to rescue. If we hadn’t reacted on time, there would be a human catastrophe, God forbid,” Barmak said.

A storm dumped as much as two metres (6.5 feet) of snow on many areas of Afghanistan over the weekend, according to officials.

Around the country nearly 200 homes were destroyed and 500 head of livestock were killed, Barmak said.

Among the hardest hit areas was Nuristan, a mountainous province on the eastern border with Pakistan.

An avalanche there on Sunday (February 5) killed 63 people and injured 27, according to an official in the provincial governor’s office.

The U.N. humanitarian coordinator, Mark Bowden, said the Afghan government was leading rescue operations, but the United Nations “stands ready to fully support” the relief effort.

The United Nations said in a statement that the full extent of the damage is still unknown as some remote areas are inaccessible.

Though bringing misery to so many people, snow is vital for Afghanistan, where most farmers rely on snow melting in the mountains to sustain crops in the spring and summer.


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