KABUL (Pajhwok): The death toll from a series of avalanches and incessant downpours in central Panjsher province rose to above 200 on Thursday, an official confirmed.
Deputy Governor Abdul Khabir Bakhshi told Pajhwok Afghan News more than 200 persons had died so far in avalanches and rain-related incidents in Panjsher, where the bulk of the deaths, 110, came in Paryan district.
He said the remaining deaths occurred in Hesa Awal and Hesa Doyem districts after heavy snowfall lashed the valley for a third day in a row on Thursday, keeping the death toll rising.
The natural’s fury forced Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Abdullah Abdullah to travel to the mountainous province to assess the situation himself.
On Wednesday, Abdullah ordered the Afghanistan Natural Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) to extend all possible assistance to residents stuck in avalanches.
Acting Governor Kabiri told Pajhwok Afghan News the height of the snow reached above a metre in two days, triggering massive avalanches.
He said 129 persons were found dead beneath snow in different parts of the province. Ninety bodies were recovered during rescue operations on Wednesday evening and 39 bodies this morning.
He said 28 bodies were recovered in Pul Panjsher area of Paryan district and 17 bodies in Pirgaz area.
A day earlier, Kabiri said about 30 people were killed by avalanches in Arghach area in Abdullah Khel Dara region of Paryan district and 13 people near Parakh, the provincial capital. The dead included women and children.
Another three people were killed in the Kojan area of Paryan district after five people were buried by snow in their home. The remaining two were still missing, the governor said.
Up to 35 people were frozen to death in Hessa Awal district on Tuesday night, he said, adding 10 of them were rescued in injured condition and five were missing as of Wednesday afternoon.
In Hessa Awal district, four people were killed when an avalanche hit a house in Khanj area and two more were killed in Safed Chahr area of the district.
Seventeen people died in Paryan district’s Pas Mazar area after avalanches buried several homes, the governor said.
Earlier, Kabiri told Pajhwok Afghan News the avalanches hit several villages and buried 60 homes. He said the one-metre snow had blocked all roads across the valley.
The avalanches occurred in Paryan, Hessa Doyem and Awal districts and Parakh, the provincial capital. Thirty persons were missing in Raghach village of Hessa Doyem and Malsafa locality of Parakh, he confirmed. An avalanche hit a house in Malsafa area and left 12 members of a family dead, he said.