Death Toll in Afghan Avalanche Reaches 47

Posted March 7th, 2012 at 4:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Afghan authorities say the death toll from Monday's avalanche in the northeast province of Badakhshan has risen to 47.

Rescuers were digging through mounds of snow Wednesday looking for anyone who might have survived the massive snow slide that buried an entire village of about 200 people.

Badakhshan governor, Shan Waliullah Adib, said all villagers in Dasty, a village located near the border with Tajikistan, were trapped under the avalanche, including women, children, men and all their livestock.

The deputy governor said the two helicopters sent by the Defense Ministry to help with the rescue effort were not able to land near the village because of bad weather.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul expressed its condolences and said it was sending supplies — including tents and plastic sheeting — to the survivors.

Heavy snowfall is common during Afghanistan's harsh winters, but analysts say this is the country's worst winter in decades.

Earlier this year in the same province, more than 40 people perished in freezing cold and avalanches triggered by heavy snow.

In February 2010, a series of avalanches killed at least 165 people near the high-altitude Salang Pass through the Hindu Kush mountains that connects the capital, Kabul, with the north.