Slideshow: devastating Afghanistan avalanches

As many as 200 people have been killed and hundreds of families left homeless following the catastrophic avalanches in Afghanistan this week

Avalanches have caused by a heavy winter snow killed at least 186 people in north-eastern Afghanistan, with the death toll still rising as rescue teams gain access to villages that have been buried beneath deep snow for days.

The avalanches buried homes across four north-east provinces, killing those beneath, said Mohammad Aslam Syas, the deputy director of the Afghanistan Natural Disaster Management Authority.

The province is Panjshir, which lies 100km north-east of the capital, Kabul, where the avalanches destroyed or damaged around 100 homes, Mr Syas said.

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.  “People there have told me that two of my relatives have been killed and eight others are still under the snow,” Sharafudin, a local Afgan, said on Wednesday.


“My son and I are trying to get through to see if we can help find their bodies. But it will take us at least three or four hours to get there because of the snow and the road is very narrow, so we have to walk, the car can’t get through. We’ve had no help yet from the authorities, no medicines, no machinery to open the roads so we can get to the buried houses.”

In a statement, President Ashraf Ghani said he was “saddened by news of the avalanches and flooding across the country”. He said he had ordered urgent assessments of the extent of damage and offered his condolences to the families of the dead.

Machinery has now been moved into the Panjshir Valley to help clear roads buried beneath at least three feet of snow. Syas says army helicopters today continued to distribute food and other essentials to villages cut off for days.