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Avalanche hits northwest Pakistan, at least 14 dead

06 February 2017

Omer Mohammadi, spokesman for the Afghan state minister for disaster management and humanitarian affairs, said that more than 50 others have been injured in different parts of the country, updating an earlier toll.

Scores of people have been killed after heavy snow and avalanches hit Afghanistan and Pakistan over the weekend.

At least five other deaths from collapsed roofs were reported elsewhere in Nuristan.

Meanwhile, in the northern province of Badakhshan, as many as 19 people were killed and 17 injured due to avalanches, collapsed roofs and road accidents over the past two days, said a spokesman for the provincial governor.

The avalanches, triggered by days of heavy snowfalls, also claimed the lives of some 550 livestock, and destroyed over 1,000 hectares of farmland.

Bad weather and deep snow have hampered efforts of rescue workers to reach the isolated villages, raising fears the toll could rise sharply, according to officials.

"Several dozen are still trapped, we are trying to rescue them", Badakhshan spokesman Naweed Frotan said, adding that many roads were still blocked.

"Fortunately we arrived on time and there is not a single casualty", he said, noting that officials expected the road to reopen quickly.

The Salang highway connecting northern and central Afghanistan and crossing high mountains was also closed and will remain blocked until the snow is cleared from the main road, said police general Rajab Salangi, who oversees the area.

An avalanche smashed into eight homes in the village of Shershal in Chitral district, killing nine people including four women and four children. In Pakistan, 13 people were killed in an avalanche that buried five homes.

Avalanche hits northwest Pakistan, at least 14 dead