, February 6, 2017

119 People Killed In Recent Avalanches And Snowstorms

The minister of public works said authorities have managed to reopen most key highways to traffic but urged motorists using the Salang Pass to chain their tyres

Senior officials on Monday confirmed 119 people have died in the past few days in avalanches and heavy snowstorms that gripped large parts of the country.

They also confirmed that over 80 people were injured in weather related incidents.

The minister of public works, Mahmood Baligh, said authorities have managed to reopen most key highways to traffic but urged motorists using the Salang Pass to chain their tyres.

He also said they must take the necessary precautions against the cold as temperatures were way below freezing.

119 people killed in recent avalanches and snowstorms
(Photo: World Bulletin)

Minister of Public Health Ferozuddin Feroz said people injured in the avalanches and snowstorms were mostly being treated in hospitals but that a team of medics had been sent to Badakhshan to help the injured.

The joint press conference in Kabul on Monday followed on the heels of CEO Abdullah Abdullah’s speech earlier in the day where he said emergency aid was being delivered to people in affected areas.

According to him, 22 provinces had been affected.

He also said the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) was working hard to address the people’s problems.

Abdullah however called on the public to help authorities clear snowed in roads.

UN Pledges Support

Meanwhile, UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Kabul has conveyed its sympathies to the families of those affected in the avalanches and pledged the UN’s full support to the Afghan government in the relief and rescue operation.

In a press statement on Monday, the UN deputy special representative of the Secretary-General and Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan Mark Bowden said that he was deeply saddened to learn about the loss of life and widespread damage to property in Barg-e-Matal district of the eastern province of Nuristan.

“On behalf of the UN humanitarian agencies, I wish to extend our condolences to all those families who have lost loved ones as a result of this avalanche,” Bowden said.

“I commend the efforts of the Afghan government that has quickly mobilized to respond to the disaster,” he said.

“At least 50 people were reported as killed, with a further 13 injured from an avalanche in Nuristan which occurred in the early hours of 5 February (Sunday). Further casualties from other avalanches and heavy snowfall were also reported in other areas around Afghanistan, including a reported 10 killed and 12 injured in Darwaz Bala, Badakhshan province,” the UN stated.

“The UN system stands ready to fully support the Afghan government in responding to the disaster,” said Bowden.

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