SHAFAQNA – More than 200 people have been confirmed dead in a recent series of avalanches in Afghanistan, a dramatic rise in the death toll as officials continue search for missing people. Acting governor of Panjshir Abdul Rahman Kabiri confirmed Thursday that the number of people killed in the province alone has exceeded 168. Dozens have been also killed in other areas while the officials warned that the death toll will likely rise as rescue is underway to recover the dead bodies trapped beneath the snow. Panjshir, around 100 kilometers (62 miles) northeast of the capital, Kabul, has been the most affected area with most of the people trapped in the mountainous valley.
The commander of the Afghan army’s Kabul Corps said that around 1,000 troops have been deployed to the affected areas in Panjshir to assist rescue efforts. Helicopters also distributed food and essential relief aid among the affected people, although authorities claimed that they were running out of supplies. Reports say rescuers have serious difficulties reaching the stricken villages as most of the roads have been blocked by snow. “People in Panjshir have not seen such a snowfall for decades,” Kabiri said.
Heavy snowfall which began earlier this week caused deadly flooding and avalanches in four northeastern provinces while it also cut the power to most parts of the capital President Ashraf Ghani issued a statement Wednesday saying that he was “saddened by news of the avalanches and flooding across the country,” adding that he had ordered urgent assessments of the extent of damage and offered his condolences to the families of the dead. Afghanistan is highly vulnerable to various kinds of natural disasters, affecting the lives of thousands of people every year. Deadly avalanches are also common in Afghanistan’s mountainous areas, where there is lack of infrastructure as well as environmental degradation aggravating the impact of heavy snow.
Source : Press TV