Asia News

Afghanistan Avalanches Kill At Least 124 People

Panjshir Afghanistan

Heavy snowfall caused avalanches that have killed at least 124 people in northeastern Afghanistan. Rescuers are still attempting to claw through debris with their hands to save the buried.

The avalanches began in Panjshir province on Tuesday and continued on Wednesday. About 100 homes have already been destroyed. Panjshir province, about 60 miles northeast of Kabul, appears to have been hit the worst, according to the Huffington Post.

Abdul Rahman Kabiri, the acting governor of Panjshir, said rescuers have used their hands and shovels trying to reach buried survivors. Rescue teams were quickly dispatched to the affected areas, but casualties are expected to rise.

Heavy snowstorms that began on Tuesday have slowed rescue efforts. Snow from the storm was almost three feet deep in some places, with fallen trees blocking many roads into the Panjshir Valley.

[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Sharafudin” author_title=”Afghan man”]

People there have told me that two of my relatives have been killed and eight others are still under the snow. My son and I are trying to get there to see if we can help find the bodies. But it will take us at least three or four hours to get there because of the snow and the road is very narrow, so we have to walk, the car can’t get through.

[/quote]

Avalanches in the Dara district of the valley have affected about 600 people.

The major storm has covered large regions of Afghanistan in snow, interrupting what has been an otherwise mild winter. The strategic Salang Tunnel linking the north and south of the country has been shut down over avalanche fears, and damaged power cables have cut off power to much of Kabul.

While temperatures have plummeted, the snow is expected to begin melting in the Panjshir Valley and the mountainous northwest region in the coming days.

Panjshir is a small province where residents are usually poor, most earning a living as shepherds, farmers and operators of small businesses, according to CNN.

The situation is still precarious due to the risk of more avalanches, NBC News reported.

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