Avalanches kill scores in Afghanistan's northeast

Rescuers continue the search for survivors as at least 200 people are confirmed dead in Panjshir Valley.

    Avalanches kill scores in Afghanistan's northeast
    The death toll was expected to rise when rescue attempts resumed at sunrise on Thursday [Getty Images]

    The death toll from a series of avalanches triggered by heavy snowfall in Afghanistan has risen above 200, officials said.

    The bulk of the deaths happened in Panjshir province, north of the capital Kabul, where at least 168 people were killed, acting provincial governor Abdul Rahman Kabiri told the AFP news agency.

    The avalanches buried homes across four northeast provinces, killing those beneath, said Mohammad Aslam Syas, the deputy director of the Afghanistan Natural Disaster Management Authority.

    Rescue teams had been dispatched to the affected areas and casualties were expected to rise, Syas said.

    Large swathes of Afghanistan have been covered in snow over the past 24 hours as a major storm has interrupted an otherwise mild and dry winter.

    Al Jazeera's Nicole Johnston, reporting from Kabul, said Panjshir is difficult to reach because it has two large mountain ranges with a narrow valley in the middle and one road in and out of the province.

    "So far [emergency teams] have been able to clear only 50km into that road," she said.

    "The provincial governor told us that they managed to get 300 people together to try and help the emergency teams but they don't have the right equipment.

    "They are using shovels and in some cases their bare hands to try and get people out.

    "Many of those houses that have heavy dumps of snow on them are in the higher mountain ranges."

    Avalanches are common in Afghanistan's mountainous north.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    Al Jazeera examines three weeks of war from which both Arabs and Israelis claimed to emerge victorious.