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At least 50 homes destroyed, 21 dead as series of avalanches strike Afghanistan, death toll expected to rise

afghanistan-avalanche-february-2020

A series of avalanches killed at least 21 people in Afghanistan's Daykundi province, authorities confirmed on Friday, February 14, 2020. The death toll is feared to climb as severe weather conditions hamper rescue efforts.

Ahmad Tameem Azimi, a spokesman of the ministry for disaster management, said seven others are still missing while 10 people were injured from the incident that occurred on Thursday, February 13. The 21 fatalities were from two families, he added.

The avalanches reportedly destroyed at least 50 homes.

Search and rescue operations have been underway since Thursday to locate the missing victims. Azimi said the number of deaths is expected to jump due to the harsh weather conditions that are making rescue efforts difficult.

Authorities have closed most highways due to heavy snowfall and fears of further avalanches.

The winter in Afghanistan has been brutal and deadly– it has sparked flash floods, triggered avalanches, and dumped heavy snowfall across the country.

In the past two months, the death toll from such calamities has climbed to 72, including the 21 deaths on Thursday.

Among the fatalities were two pregnant women who died "because of their inability to reach to hospital for delivery," said Assadullah Sarwari, regional head of the Afghanistan Disasters Management Authority.

In addition, 2 400 houses have been washed away in flash floods since the beginning of the winter season.

Featured image credit: @Jawadniki/Twitter

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