[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Thursday, 24 February, 2005, 17:52 GMT
UN warns of floods in Afghanistan
Refugees struggle for handouts in a frozen Kabul
Refugees struggle for handouts in a frozen Kabul
Afghanistan faces catastrophic floods after snow melts from the worst winter in decades, the UN's World Food Programme has warned.

Aid agencies and health officials in Afghanistan say more than 100 children are believed to have died of cold-related illnesses.

Several hundred people have died in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Indian-administered Kashmir.

Relief is still to reach many areas suffering avalanches and snowstorms.

Villages cut off

In Afghanistan, aid workers say they are stockpiling food in areas which could be isolated by flood waters.

We're losing hope of finding anyone alive
Mohammed Maqbool,
Viltengnar in Indian-administered Kashmir

"We are already working on the risk of floods when the snow will melt and we are trying to identify the areas that could be isolated if bridges break or because of swollen rivers," WFP country director Charles Vincent told AFP news agency.

The BBC's Andrew North in the western city of Herat says there is continuing concern about the plight of thousands of Afghans in remote villages cut off by heavy snow.

The US military has been flying in emergency UN supplies to districts in the western province of Ghor, suffering its heaviest falls of snow in more than a decade.

The US commander here has also expressed concern about the high risk of flooding when the snow melts.

Elsewhere in the region:

  • The Indian army has dropped thousands of food packets and blankets to villages still cut off

  • Avalanches have crushed homes and buried six villages in the southern district of Anantnag

  • Volunteers and soldiers are digging beneath the snow to look for bodies

  • Pakistani officials say more than 300 people have died in heavy snowfall and rain in the past few weeks

  • At least three areas in Pakistani-administered Kashmir have also been cut off by heavy snow leaving hundreds of thousands of people stranded.

In Indian-administered Kashmir, where more than 230 people have died, senior officials say it will take about three weeks to clear snow off the state's roads.

Two hundred policemen have been sent to the village of Viltengnar which has been completely devastated.

They will join Indian army troops and volunteers looking for survivors although hopes are fading.

"We're losing hope of finding anyone alive," Mohammed Maqbool is quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

Heavy earthmoving equipment is still to arrive in the area, reports say.

For the first time in days, power has been restored to hospitals and other essential services.

But most parts of the Kashmir valley is still without power and water.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See the heavy snowfalls in Kashmir




SEE ALSO:
In pictures: South Asia snows
23 Feb 05 |  In Pictures
Snow paralyses Afghan villages
22 Feb 05 |  South Asia
Pakistan storms claim more lives
15 Feb 05 |  South Asia
Avalanches: A fatal attraction
29 Mar 00 |  In Depth


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific