Bad weather takes 54 lives in Afghanistan and Pakistan


Officials in Afghanistan and Pakistan said on Monday that a severe winter weather wave had hit parts of the two countries, coinciding with heavy snow and rain, and sudden floods, killing at least 54 people.

This comes at a time when the authorities are struggling to clear highways and reopen them, and to evacuate civilians to safer places, according to the Associated Press.

In Pakistan, 30 people were killed, as most of the damage occurred in the southwestern province of Balochistan.

Imran Zarkon, head of the provincial disaster management, said that 14 people have died in the past 24 hours, especially when rooftops collapsed amid heavy snowfall.

He pointed out that heavy snow caused the closure of many highways, while the thickness of ice in some parts of the province was about six inches.

Eleven people were killed in the eastern Punjab province, which was struck by heavy rains, and 5 others died in the Pakistani-administered part of Kashmir, according to state emergency management officials.

Heavy Himalayan areas have seen heavy snowfall in recent days, and blackouts have been reported.

Emergency agencies said they are struggling to provide food and other essential materials for the snow-hit areas.

In Afghanistan, severe weather conditions have killed at least 24 people, according to the Ministry of Disaster Management.

Ministry spokesman Ahmed Tamim Azim said that the sudden floods destroyed 131 homes, most of which are located in the southern, western and northern governorates of the country.

Haseebullah Sheikhani, a media official with the Ministry of Disaster Management, said that most of the highways in Afghanistan were closed due to heavy snowfall and fears of avalanches.

In the Afghan capital, Kabul, where temperatures dropped to -15 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit), residents stopped driving, as they struggled to reach workplaces on snow-covered roads.


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