KUNDUZ CITY/MAIMANA (PAN): Six shepherds and more than 1,500 sheep have died due to heavy snowstorms and avalanches in northern Kunduz and Faryab provinces, officials said on Monday.
Four shepherds were killed along with their 500 sheep in the Dasht-i-Abadan area of Chahardara district on Sunday night, when they were trapped in a freak snowstorm, Mir Agha Etibar, the Afghanistan National Disasters Management Authority (ANDMA) head for Kunduz, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
The snowstorm and avalanches, triggered by days of snowfalls, had closed roads leading to the area, where the shepherds and their herds had been trapped, he said.
The victims were waiting in their shelters for the snowstorm to subside when caught in the heavy blizzard, he added.
Shepherd Gul Ahmad said: “I was among those trapped by avalanches, but I luckily managed to escape alive while the storm was worsening.”
Two shepherds and 1,000 sheep were killed after heavy snowfall and avalanches hit the Kohistan district of neighbouring Faryab province, officials said.
The incident took place in the Kohi Tor and Lolash areas, Meboobullah, the district council member, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
Two shepherds along with 500 sheep were killed in the Kohi Tor area and as many sheep perished in the Lolash area, he added.
All roads connecting the district with the provincial capital, Maimana, had been closed over the past two months.
Governor Abdul-Haq Shafaq said 500 of the 12, 00 household animals trapped in the snow-bound area had perished and the rest rescued by residents.
He verified the closure of key roads linking the district to the provincial capital, saying snow-clearing operations could not be launched before the month of April.
The Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) has enough food and fodder for distribution to stranded people, he said.