Avalanches and snowstorms kill scores in Afghanistan

Freezing weather also killed at least two people and over 100 animals in western Badghis province.

Heavy snow and avalanches have killed dozens of people in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Avalanches destroyed scores of homes and blocked roads in central and northeastern provinces, a spokesman for the ministry of natural disasters told AFP.

Deaths were also reported in Baghdis province and Parwan province, north of Kabul, where a spokesman for the governor confirmed 16 people had died.

The central government in Afghanistan declared a nationwide holiday and Kabul's worldwide airport was closed.

Naweed Frotan, a spokesman for the provincial governor of Afghanistan's northern Badakhshan Province, said the government was working to reach 12 districts that had been completely cut off.

Mohammadi said a separate huge avalanche had nearly entirely covered another village in the area and rescue teams were trying to reach it despite deep snow and freezing weather.

Provincial governor of Nuristan, Hafiz Abdul Qayyum said, "The area is completely blocked because of snow so it is very hard for us to send support, but we are trying our best".

Meanwhile, in neighbouring Pakistan, at least nine people, including children, were killed by an avalanche in the northern Chitral district, with as many as 14 residents believed to still be trapped in collapsed houses, said district official Syed Maghferat Shah.

The region has been hit by heavy snowfall that is 1.2m deep in some places.

The region's electricity supply was also disrupted after the main power line was damaged.

In the Khyber tribal district on the Afghan border in the northwest, three infant girls were killed and two women injured when the roof of their house collapsed in heavy rain.

  • Jon Douglas