At least 34 killed in Afghan snowfalls
January 9, 2008
HERAT, Afghanistan (AFP) – Authorities said Wednesday that at least 34 people had been killed in days of heavy snowfall across trouble-torn Afghanistan.
Hundreds of isolated communities were cut off after days of constant snowfall and rain blocking their roads to the major cities, authorities said.
Afghan health officials meanwhile have called on tens of thousands of health workers to stay on a state of alert.
In the worst incident, eight members of one family died when their mud-brick house collapsed under the weight of snow in western Herat province Monday night, Nooruddin Ahmadi, head of the Afghan Red Crescent in Herat, said.
Among others killed were six shepherds from a mountainous region in the province and two people in an avalanche nearby, he added.
Seven others, including two female health workers, were killed in another avalanche in central Ghor province, an official said, while five others perished in another avalanche in neighbouring Farah province.
Most parts of poverty-stricken Afghanistan is mountainous and extremely vulnerable in winter.
Officials in western, central and northern parts of the country said that most roads leading to small towns and villages were closed.
“Our roads are blocked and we can’t access communities in the districts,” Sultan Uruzgani, the governor of the central province of Daikondi, said. He said two people were killed from cold and heavy snowfall there.
The Red Crescent’s Ahmadi called on the Kabul government and the international community for urgent support before it turns into a “real disaster.”