Page last updated at 12:38 GMT, Tuesday, 23 March 2010

At least 35 die in Afghanistan avalanche, officials say


At least 35 people were killed in an avalanche in a remote area of northern Afghanistan two weeks ago, officials have said.

They said that the harsh weather and remoteness of the far northern province of Badakhshan meant local people had had to travel for days to get help.

Police and rescue workers say it took four days to get to the scene.

In February, at least 171 people died in an avalanche at the 3,800m-high (12,700ft) Salang Pass.


"An avalanche swept through five civilian houses in Arghanj Khowa district - killing 35 people including men, women and children," Badakhshan provincial spokesman Marouf Rasikh told the AFP news agency on Tuesday.

Mother and son in Badakhshan province
Little has changed in Badakhshan province over the years

"Two representatives of the district got to the provincial capital after travelling for 13 days on snow-blocked roads and they informed us of the incident last night."

Police said that there could be more bodies still in the snow and at least five houses had been destroyed. An estimated 500 cattle and other animals were also killed.

Arghanj Khowa district is about 50km (30 miles) south of the Tajikistan border.

Local residents say that the avalanche happened in the village of Dood Daood. The road to the village is blocked by snow for several months of the year.

"They are very poor people living in a very remote area," police chief Aja Noor Kemtuz told the AP news agency.

"From this village to another village is three days' walk."

Correspondents say that Badakhshan is a mass of snowy peaks and scattered valleys, with no sustainable road network and only a dirt track to connect it with the rest of the country.

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