At least 100 people have been killed in avalanches following severe snowfall in northeast Afghanistan, officials said Wednesday as rescue crews struggled to reach the affected areas.
The hardest-hit province, Panjshir, about 60 miles from Kabul, saw 100 killed across four districts, said acting provincial governor Abdul Rahman Kabiri. An additional 29 people have been injured.
Mohammad Aslam Syas, the deputy director of the Afghanistan Natural Disaster Management Authority, gave a higher toll, telling the Associated Press that at least 124 people were dead.
The toll was likely to rise as emergency crews get better access to mountainous areas where scores of homes had been flattened or damaged, Kabiri said.
The crews "will be working through the night to clear the roads so aid and assistance can get through," he said.
Two days of heavy snow and rain have caused damage and casualties in four northeastern provinces, Syas told the Associated Press. Kabiri told the news service that rescuers used their bare hands and shovels in an effort to reach survivors.
Afghanistan's Tolo News reported that roads to much of northern Baghlan province were closed due to snowfall.
Severe weather, particularly in rugged, remote northern Afghanistan, has periodically caused mass deaths. Last May, mudslides following heavy rainfall in northeastern Badakhshan province buried hundreds of residents in their homes.
Latifi is a special correspondent. Times staff writer Bengali reported from Mumbai, India.