Asia

Afghanistan and Pakistan avalanches kill more than 100

  • 6 February 2017
  • From the section Asia
Rescue workers trying to reach the avalanche-hit areas in Chitral, Pakistan Image copyright EPA
Image caption Rescue workers are trying to reach the avalanche-hit areas of Chitral, Pakistan

Heavy snow and avalanches have killed more than 106 people and injured dozens in Afghanistan.

In the deadliest incident, 53 people died in one village after an avalanche in Nuristan, a north-eastern Afghan province on the Pakistan border.

Thirteen people were also killed in an avalanche in northern Pakistan, nine of them in the town of Chitral.

Dozens of houses have been destroyed and people were reported to have frozen to death, trapped in cars.

Afghanistan's minister of state natural disasters, Wais Ahmad Barmak, confirmed the number of dead to BBC Afghan. There were also avalanches to the north of the Afghan capital, Kabul.

"Avalanches have buried two entire villages," a spokesman for the ministry told news agency AFP of the Barg Matal area in Nuristan.

The neighbouring mountainous province of Badakhshan was also badly hit by snow storms.

Rescuers are experiencing difficulty reaching trapped people, because of bad weather and snow-blocked roads.

Provincial Council member Khalilullah Ghayor told BBC Afghan that two helicopters will be deployed to the area to look for survivors and deliver aid.

The main international airport in Kabul has also been closed because of snow and ice on the runway.

On the Kabul-Kandahar highway, police and soldiers rescued some 250 vehicles that were trapped.

The Salang pass north of Kabul was also closed under as much as 2.5m (7ft) of snow, local police chief Rajab Salangi said, according to Reuters news agency.

At least two stranded drivers have frozen to death. Dozens are marooned there without food.

Officials are warning of more avalanches as snow storms are continuing.

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