Friday 24 November 2017

Dozens killed following avalanches in Afghanistan

There has been recent snow in Afghanistan
There has been recent snow in Afghanistan

Avalanches triggered by heavy snowfall across Afghanistan have killed at least 119 people in recent days.

Wais Ahmad Barmak, the state minister for disaster management and humanitarian affairs, said at least 89 other people have been injured and 190 homes destroyed by avalanches in multiple provinces.

Those figures are expected to rise as rescue teams make their way through snow-blocked roads to afflicted areas.

Many of the most recent fatalities come from Nuristan province, near the Pakistani border, where two villages were buried in snow.

Mr Barmak's spokesman Omer Mohammadi said rescue teams have so far recovered 48 bodies from those villages and that more than 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) of farmland have been destroyed.

Mr Mohammadi said it would take some time to establish the full extent of the damage.

"This will take days for us to clean up all roads covered with snow in different provinces," he said.

On Sunday, Afghanistan's government declared a public holiday due to the heavy snowfall across the country.

The United Nations has offered its assistance.

UN humanitarian coordinator for Afghanistan Mark Bowden said: "I commend the efforts of the Afghan government that has quickly mobilised to respond to the disaster.

"The UN system stands ready to fully support the Afghan government in responding."

Press Association

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