Afghanistan death toll rises to at least 250 amid worst avalanches in 30 years

Some residents of remote areas have been completely cut off by the avalanches

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The Independent Online

At least 250 people have died amid massive avalanches and flooding as fresh waves of snow have hit the north east of Afghanistan.

More bodies have been found, including those of women and children, as rescue workers dig through the snow – according to deputy provincial chief of Panjshir province Najimudin Khan.

Bulldozers and machinery have been clearing the roads of the Panjshir Valley to reach remote villages where hundreds of homes have been destroyed by the 40m (130ft) high avalanches.

All deaths have been attributed to the fall of snow or flooding.

“We haven’t seen this much snow, or this many avalanches, for 30 years,” acting governor of the mountainous province Abdul Rahman Kabiri had told Reuters.

At least four army helicopters have been dropping hot food to cut-off areas, Khan said today. It could be the first meals the residents have had since the disaster last week.

afghanistan-avalanche-snow-2.jpgNationwide, the death toll from avalanches and flooding rose to at least 247 people, the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority said.

The avalanches are the most severe among those experienced in the Panjshir province in three decades.

President Ghani has cancelled a trip to Iran because of the natural disaster, which he described as a national tragedy.

Additional reporting by Reuters