Published: Wed, January 15, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

17 dead after extreme cold, heavy snow lashes Afghanistan

17 dead after extreme cold, heavy snow lashes Afghanistan

Much of the damage was caused in Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan province where Imran Zarkon, the head of provincial disaster management authority said 14 people were killed in the past 24 hours because of roofs amid winter's unusual snowfall, which also blocked highways and disrupted normal life.

In Neelam valley alone, 19 people died in an avalanche while 10 others were still missing.

Saturday's deaths bring the number of casualties from this year's cold snap to at least 24, as temperatures in parts of the country dropped to minus 12 degrees Celsius (10 Fahrenheit).

Avalanches, flooding and harsh winter weather has killed more than 130 people across Pakistan and Afghanistan in recent days, officials said on Tuesday, as authorities struggled to reach people stranded by heavy snowfall.

"Neelum Valley Road, Leepa Valley Road, Chikar-Bagh Road, Bagh-Lasdana Road, Mehmood Galli-Abbaspur Road and Tain Dhalkot Road were all closed for traffic", he said.

To the south-west, in Balochistan province, at least 31 people have been killed in separate weather-related incidents.

Pakistani authorities have told the BBC that across Neelum Valley, at least 51 people have been killed and over 40 injured by both avalanches and landslides.

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"Most of those who died were women and children", said Mohammad Younus, an official with the provincial disaster management authority, adding that hundreds remained stranded.

Across the border in Afghanistan, more than 300 houses were either destroyed or partially damaged throughout the country, said Ahmad Tamim Azimi, a spokesman for the natural disaster management authority.

Balochistan on Sunday imposed emergency in 7 districts of Balochistan following continuous heavy rain and snowfall across the province, ARY News reported.

The worst-affected provinces in the country include Helmand, Kandahar, Herat and Kabul.

In 2012, an avalanche engulfed a Pakistani army battalion headquarters near the Indian border, killing at least 124 soldiers and 11 civilians.

For past two days the Himalayan region has witnessed heavy snowfall resulting in series of avalanches and landslides. In western Herat province, seven people died, including five members of the same family, said Abdul Ahad Walizada, spokesman for the provincial police chief.

Other parts of the country have experienced heavy rainfall.

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