Over 130 people killed in Afghanistan avalanches

KABUL: Afghan officials say more than 130 people have died in the avalanches over the weekend, after 10 feet of snow buried some parts of the country.

Dozens of houses were destroyed and “people were reported to have frozen to death, trapped in cars.

Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul was closed on Sunday, after nearly 2 feet of snow covered the runways and north of the capital, the Salang pass into the Hindu Kush mountains was reportedly buried under 7 feet of snow.

At least one helicopter was shuttling supplies and people to the province of Nuristan, on the border with Pakistan northeast of Kabul, where provincial Gov. Hafiz Abdul Qayyom told Agence France-Presse that at least 64 people were killed.

Most of the deaths occurred in one devastated village, he said.

“Most affected are women and children,” he said on Sunday. “The area is completely blocked because of snow so it is very difficult for us to send support, but we are trying our best.”

The AFP reported that some hard-hit areas in Afghanistan were still not accessible on Monday:

“There had been no word yet from some villages in Nuristan, which Qayyom said had received nearly [10 feet] of snow, with blocked roads and mountainous terrain hampering the rescue effort.

” ‘We will evacuate wounded victims to the city of Jalalabad for treatment,’ [Qayyom] said, adding that skies were clear on Monday.”

Last month heavy snowfall and freezing weather killed 27 children, all under the age of five, in the northern Jawzjan province.

Avalanches are common in Afghanistan’s mountainous areas in winter, and rescue efforts are frequently hampered by a lack of equipment.