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Associated Press, February 25, 2015

Avalanches in Afghanistan kill at least 108

Large parts of Afghanistan have been covered in snow as a major storm interrupted an otherwise mild and dry winter

Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers search for bodies in the snow after avalanches killed at least 157 people in Salang tunnel
Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers search for bodies in the snow after avalanches killed at least 157 people in Salang tunnel in Parwan province, February 10, 2010. (Photo: Omar Sobhani/Reuters)

Alanches caused by a heavy winter snow have killed at least 108 people in northeastern Afghanistan, an emergency official said Wednesday, as rescuers clawed through debris with their hands to save those buried beneath.

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

The worst-hit province appears to be Panjshir, about 60 miles northeast of the capital, Kabul, where the avalanches destroyed or damaged approximately 100 homes, Syas said.

The acting governor of Panjshir, Abdul Rahman Kabiri, said rescuers used their bare hands and shovels in an effort to reach survivors. Rescue teams have been dispatched to the affected areas and casualty count was expected to rise, Syas said.

Large parts of Afghanistan have been covered in snow as a major storm interrupted an otherwise mild and dry winter.

Afghanistan has suffered through three decades of war since the Soviet invasion in 1979, but natural disasters such as landslides, floods and avalanches have also taken a toll on a country with little infrastructure or development outside of its major cities.

In May, a massive landslide killed anywhere from 250 to 2,700 people, authorities said at the time. Another landslide in 2012 killed 71 people. Authorities were not able to recover the vast majority of bodies and ended up declaring the site a massive grave.

Category: Healthcare/Environment - Views: 4256