59 dead in Pakistan and Afghanistan due to Avalanches

Published On:February 6, 2017, 12:14 pm

Heavy snowfall set off a deadly series of avalanches alongside the Afghan-Pakistani border on Sunday, which killed at least 59 people in both the countries, according to officials.

According to district official Syed Maghferat Shah, in neighboring Pakistan, a minimum of nine people that included children as well, were killed in the northern Chitral district, along with nearly 14 residents who are still trapped in collapsed houses.

He stated, "So far the rescue workers have recovered nine bodies and efforts are under way to retrieve more."

The series of avalanche came upon a village of 25 houses; however the evacuation operations were put aside due to bad weather, said Deputy Chief Commissioner of Chitral, Mr. Sahab Hameed Yousafzai.

11 people were injured and around 45 people died in northeastern Afghanistan’s Barg-e-Matal district. Hafiz Abdul Qayum, Governor of Nuristan Province mentioned that the death toll might increase as more victims are discovered. The core area affected in nearly 150 miles northeast of Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul.

Along the border in northwest Pakistan, a huge clustered mass of ice, snow, and rocks plumed on five houses in the mountainous Sher Shal village in Chitral district.

Colonel Nizamuddin Shah said that the people who were dead in the villages included around 14 people and out of which six were children, six women and two men.

Spokesman for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province's disaster management authority, Sheena Ayub Khan said that evacuation efforts are presently underway.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) will harmonize with the rescue operation and accordingly arrange for necessary medical assistance, shelter, food for those who are affected.

Chitral region falls in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province, where in April last year, flash floods killed at least 47 people and injured around 37.

Transport Sourly Affected

The heavy snowfall which hampered the rescue operation also wreaked havoc on major connecting roads in Afghanistan that included the main Kandahar-Kabul highway, where already the soldiers and police rescued approximately 250 vehicles trapped by the heavy storm, according to Jawed Salangi, a spokesperson for Ghazni province.

The Salang pass, in the north of Kabul, was closed due to almost two and a half meters of snow. Also NDMA said, in Pakistan, all the inter-district roads in Chitral were shut, at the same time a major highway that links Dir district to Chitral and other linking parts of the upper Swat valley were exclusively open to traffic under strict restrictions.

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