News24

Afghan homes covered in 3m of snow

2012-01-19 12:05

Kabul - Helicopters flew supplies into snowbound villages in mountainous northeast Afghanistan on Thursday as the death toll from heavy snowfalls and avalanches rose to at least 28, an official said.

Dozens more people have been injured or are trapped in their homes under up to 3m  of snow in remote Badakhshan province, where main roads have been cut, making it difficult for rescue workers to reach affected villages.

"The latest statistics we have are 28 people killed, 45 injured and 600 cattle killed from seven districts of Badakhshan," Abdul Maroof Rasikh, a spokesman for the provincial governor, told AFP.

"This is not the final toll, the fatalities may increase in the coming days. This year's snow is heavier than the past year, and we had some 20 deaths from snow and avalanches in 2011."

The defence ministry provided two helicopters, which had flown in essential food and health packages for trapped families, he said.

Heavy snowfalls and avalanches kill scores of people in Afghanistan each winter.

In 2010, avalanches killed more than 150 people in the high-altitude Salang pass through the Hindu Kush mountain range that connects Kabul to the north.