Asia

Afghanistan's Panjshir hit by deadly avalanches

Salang Pass, 24 February
Image caption Heavy snow has closed the Salang Pass, and cut off power to parts of Kabul

A series of avalanches has struck north of the Afghan capital, Kabul, leaving at least 90 dead, officials say.

Local governor Abdul Rahman Kabiri said mosques, schools and at least 100 homes had been ruined in Panjshir province.

The sudden snowfall after a mild winter surprised many residents, who were reportedly trying to dig out survivors using their bare hands in some areas.

Avalanches are relatively common in northern Afghanistan, with dozens dying in major incidents in 2010 and 2012.

But the governor said Panjshir province had not seen avalanches on this level for three decades.

"We need to clear 40km [25 miles] of snow in order to get [to the affected areas]," Mr Kabiri told the BBC.

"We have tried to clear the central road of the province to pave the way for assistance to get through. The assistance, however, has not yet arrived."

Civilians were also battling through blocked roads to try to reach remote areas.

A man named Sharafudin told AP news agency he wanted to see if he could help.

"People there have told me that two of my relatives have been killed and eight others are still under the snow," he said.

Disaster officials suggested there were at least 10 other deaths outside Panjshir province, putting the current death toll above 100.

If the deaths are confirmed, it would be the worst avalanche in years.

In 2012, a series of avalanches in Badakhshan province killed dozens.

In 2010, more than 20 avalanches hit the Salang area, killing at least 165.

Related Topics

More on this story

Around the BBC