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.
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. The province worst hit appeared to be Panjshir province, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) northeast of the capital, Kabul, where the avalanches destroyed or damaged around 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 had been dispatched to the affected areas and casualties were expected to rise, Syas said.
The heavy snowstorms, which began early Tuesday, hampered rescue efforts. Snow fall from the storm was nearly 1-meter (3-feet) deep in places and fallen trees blocked roads in the Panjshir Valley.Gen. Abdul Aziz Ghirat, the provincial police chief of Panjshir, said the death toll from the avalanches was expected to rise when rescue attempts resumed at sunrise Thursday.
Avalanches in the valley’s Dara district affected up to 600 families, according to people trying to reach the area to assist in rescue efforts