At Least 124 Killed in Avalanches in Afghanistan

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An Afghan girl carries shovels in a village close to an avalanche site in Panjshir province north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. Avalanches caused by a heavy winter snow killed at least 124 people in northeastern Afghanistan, an emergency official said Wednesday, as rescuers clawed through debris with their hands to save those buried beneath. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)
An Afghan girl carries shovels in a village close to an avalanche site in Panjshir province north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)

“Ordinary people and government employees are using shovels and bare hands to rescue those who are still trapped under the snow.” – governor Abdul Rahman Kabiri

Aftermath of avalanches in Panjshir province, Afghanistan, Feb. 25, 2015. (@jawidomid via Twitter)
Aftermath of avalanches in Panjshir province, Afghanistan, Feb. 25, 2015. (@jawidomid via Twitter)

According to local officials, heavy winter snow caused large avalanches that killed at least 124 people in Northeastern Afghanistan.  Rescuers and local people are scrambling to save dozens more people currently buried under snow in their homes.

People there have told me that two of my relatives have been killed and eight others are still under the snow.  My son and I are trying to get through to see if we can help find their bodies. But it will take us at least three or four hours to get there because of the snow and the road is very narrow, so we have to walk, the car can’t get through.” – Sharafudin

Afghan men clean off the snow from their roof tops in a village close to an avalanche site in Panjshir province north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. Avalanches caused by a heavy winter snow killed at least 124 people in northeastern Afghanistan, an emergency official said Wednesday, as rescuers clawed through debris with their hands to save those buried beneath. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)
Afghan men clean off the snow from their roof tops in a village close to an avalanche site in Panjshir province north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015.  (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)

Large avalanches buried many homes in four northeast provinces, burying and killing those inside reports Mohammad Aslam Syas, the deputy director of the Afghanistan Natural Disaster Management Authority.  Pansjshir province (60 miles northeast of the Afghan capital of Kabul) was hit the hardest with over 100 homes destroyed by avalanches.

“We’ve had no help yet from the authorities, no medicines, no machinery to open the roads so we can get to the buried houses.” – Sharafudin

Afghan men push a car which became stuck near an avalanche site in Panjshir province north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. Avalanches caused by a heavy winter snow killed at least 124 people in northeastern Afghanistan, an emergency official said Wednesday, as rescuers clawed through debris with their hands to save those buried beneath. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)
Afghan men push a car which became stuck near an avalanche site in Panjshir province north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)

Bare hands and shovels are being used to rescue buried persons.  Rescue teams have been dispatched to the devastated areas.  Casualties are unfortunately expected to rise as the rescue effort uncovers more bodies.

Afghan men walk in a village close to an avalanche site in Panjshir province north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)
Afghan men walk in a village close to an avalanche site in Panjshir province north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)

Heavy snowstorms began on Tuesday and haven’t ceased.  This has greatly impeded all rescue efforts.  Up to 3.3 feet of snow has fallen on many valley floors and many downed trees has made access to the Panjshir zone an absolute battle.

The Dara district of Panjshir is reporting up to 600 families being affected by avalanches.

Afghanistan's high mountainous areas ©Shah Marai (AFP/File)
Afghanistan’s high mountainous areas ©Shah Marai (AFP/File)

Massive fatalities from avalanches is common in Afghanistan’s mountainous regions.  In 2012, 145 were killed in the northeast of the country.  In 2010, 165 people were killed on Salang Pass in the Hindu Kush mountains.

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One thought on “At Least 124 Killed in Avalanches in Afghanistan

  1. I was told to the Afghan TV last weekend thet why the Afghan tv didn,t show all Afghanistan weather on the telvision ? they have to show where and which port of the country coming heavy snow or heavy raining . if they show in the telvision all people knows if befor coming danger they can move Quickly from Danger place to the safe place. i didn,t understand why?? please answer me why?
    fraidoon hanifi.. from Danmark.

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