Avalanches, floods kill 129 nationwide
KABUL (Pajhwok): Avalanches and flash floods claimed the lives of at least 129 people in various provinces of Afghanistan over the past 24 hours, with central Panjsher province appearing to be the worst-hit.
The casualties took place in Panjsher, Nuristan, Parwan, Takhar, Laghman, Nangarhar and Baghlan provinces.
Panjsher acting governor Abdul Rahman Kabiri told Pajhwok Afghan News so far 90 people in various parts of the valley had been killed as a result of massive avalanches triggered by two days of snowfall, which had blocked all roads.
He said 37 people were retrieved dead from beneath the snow in Hesa-i-Doyem district, 27 in Hesa-i-Awal, 20 in Paryan district and the rest in areas near Parakh, the provincial capital.
A statement issued from the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) confirmed 75 deaths in Panjsher.
A family in eastern Nuristan province’s Mandol district lost 14 members to an avalanche, the governor’s spokesman, Musa Shami, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
He said the incident took place on Wednesday afternoon at about 3pm in the Mandal area. He said four dead bodies had been retrieved and efforts were underway to dig out the remaining persons buried in their house under fleet of snow.
At least 15 people, including women and children, were killed by avalanches in central Parwan and northern Takhar provinces, local officials said.
Parwan deputy governor Shah Wali Shahid told Pajhwok Afghan News the avalanches were triggered by two days of snowing.
“Initial reports suggest five people in Sighan area of Siagard district, three members of a family in Shinwari district’s Kafshan Dara area, two in Salang district’s Kolama Dara area and two people in Charikar city had lost their lives.” He said the individuals died in their homes buried in snow.
Three people were killed in Bangi and Baharak districts of Takhar. A mother and her 16-year-old daughter died after the roof of their house caved in when stuck by an avalanche in Zamani Jan village of Bangi district, the governor’s spokesman, Sunnatullah Taimor, said.
A third person was killed after the wall of his house collapsed, he said.
Eight people were killed by flash floods unleashed by heavy rains that began 30 hours ago in eastern Nangarhar, Laghman and Nuristan provinces.
The spokesman for Laghman governor, Sarhadi Zwak, said the floods killed four people, destroyed dozens of homes and washed away hundreds of acres of agriculture land in the province.
Nangarhar government spokesman Ahmad Zia Abdulzai said flash floods erupted in Sara Rud, Behsud, Chaparhar and Lalpura districts overnight, drowning four children in Behsud district’s Zangon area and inundating many areas.
Two shepherds lost their lives and 50 sheep to snowfall and severe cold conditions in the Khak-i-Safed district of northern Baghlan province, the district’s chief, Abdul Khaliq, said.
The Afghanistan Natural Disaster Management Authority said the snow and rainfall had subsided fears about future droughts, but many people lost their lives.
Avalanches caused by the heavy winter snow also killed hundreds of household animals and blocked roads connecting provinces.
Around 100 homes were destroyed by avalanches in Panjsher, which appeared to be the worst-hit province, where rescuers searched for those buried beneath snow with their hands.
The strategic Salang Tunnel, which links the north and south of the country, has been closed over avalanche fears.
President Ashraf Ghani in a statement said he was "saddened by news of the avalanches and flooding across the country." He said he had ordered urgent assessments of the extent of damage and offered his condolences to the families of the dead.
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