130 dead as se­vere weather hits sev­eral parts of Asia

At least 93 peo­ple died and 76 were in­jured across Pak­istan, while a fur­ther 39 were killed in Afghanista­n

Muscat Daily - - FRONT PAGE -

Is­lam­abad, Pak­istan - Avalanches, flood­ing and harsh win­ter weather has killed more than 130 peo­ple across Pak­istan and Afghanista­n in re­cent days, of­fi­cials said on Tues­day, as au­thor­i­ties strug­gled to reach peo­ple stranded by heavy snow­fall.

At least 93 peo­ple died and 76 were in­jured across Pak­istan - with sev­eral still miss­ing - while a fur­ther 39 were killed in Afghanista­n, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials in both coun­tries.

Fore­casts sug­gest more harsh weather is on the way.

Pakistani Kash­mir was the worst-hit area, with 62 peo­ple killed and ten oth­ers miss­ing, the State Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Author­ity said in a state­ment.

In the pic­turesque but con­flict-riven Neelum Val­ley in Kash­mir, heavy snow­fall trig­gered sev­eral avalanches, in­clud­ing one that killed at least 19 peo­ple.

“An avalanche hit their vil­lage, ten peo­ple are still miss­ing,” the SDMA said.

Fre­quent avalanches and land­slides oc­cur in Kash­mir dur­ing the win­ter, of­ten block­ing roads and leav­ing com­mu­ni­ties iso­lated.

Au­thor­i­ties have shut­tered schools, while sev­eral high­ways and roads were closed across the coun­try’s north­ern moun­tain­ous ar­eas, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials.

‘The se­vere snow­falls and land­slides in AJK have caused mis­ery & deaths,’ tweeted Pak­istan Prime Min­is­ter Im­ran Khan, re­fer­ring to the part of Kash­mir con­trolled by Is­lam­abad.

To the south­east, in Balochis­tan prov­ince, at least 31 peo­ple had been killed in sep­a­rate weather-re­lated in­ci­dents.

“Most of those who died were women and chil­dren,” said Mo­ham­mad Younus, an of­fi­cial with the pro­vin­cial dis­as­ter man­age­ment author­ity, adding that hun­dreds re­mained stranded.

Across the bor­der in Afghanista­n, more than 300 houses were ei­ther de­stroyed or par­tially dam­aged through­out the coun­try, said Ah­mad Tamim Az­imi a spokesman for the Nat­u­ral Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Author­ity.

“A cold snap, heavy snow­fall and rains that started two weeks ago have caused dam­age,” he said, adding that most ca­su­al­ties were caused af­ter roofs col­lapsed un­der thick snow.

Hardest hit were south­ern Kan­da­har, Hel­mand, Zabul and west­ern Herat prov­inces.

In Herat, seven peo­ple - all mem­bers of the same fam­ily and in­clud­ing chil­dren - died when their roof caved in, Az­imi added.

Res­i­dents of the Afghan cap­i­tal, Kabul, where the tem­per­a­ture dropped to -15°C, aban­doned driv­ing and strug­gled to get to work on snow-cov­ered roads.

Harsh win­ters of­ten take a heavy toll in moun­tain­ous Afghanista­n, and the coun­try re­mains poor de­spite bil­lions of dol­lars in aid from the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.


Res­i­dents wade through flood­wa­ters af­ter heavy rain­fall in Afghanista­n’s Kan­da­har Prov­ince on Sun­day


Lo­cal res­i­dents re­move de­bris of a col­lapsed house fol­low­ing heavy snow­fall that trig­gered an avalanche in Neelum Val­ley, in Pak­istan-ad­min­is­tered Kash­mir on Tues­day


In­jured avalanche vic­tims ar­rive in an army he­li­copter fol­low­ing heavy snow­fall in Neelum Val­ley, in Muzaf­farabad, the cap­i­tal of Pak­istan-ad­min­is­tered Kash­mir on Tues­day

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