Avalanches and Heavy Snow Cause Hazardous Conditions in Afghanistan


Until very recently, Afghanistan this year experienced a warmer, milder winter than during many previous years. However, recently very heavy snowfalls in mountainous areas have caused some loss of life, and imperiled access to a number of small communities. Mohammad Aslam Syas, the Deputy Director of the Afghanistan Natural Disaster Management Authority announced earlier this week that avalanches covered a number of homes in four provinces. The authorities fear that numerous deaths occurred as a result, possibly as many as 124.

The most severely impacted region was Panjshir Province noted users on AnastasiaDate. It lies some 100 kilometers to the north of the capital city of Kabul. Snow fell three feet deep in some locations. The blowing and accumulation of heavy snows at higher elevations enhanced the risk of sudden snow slides in rural areas. The provincial police chief of Panjshir District predicted that rescue efforts would reveal a more extensive loss of life than current statistics indicate.

Due to concern about the possibility of sudden avalanches, government officials in centrally located Parwan Province closed down a tunnel that serves as a main thoroughfare between the northern and southern parts of the nation. Power cables in the Salang Tunnel had sustained damage, and this in turn resulted in electricity being shut off in Kabul this week.

Avalanches in mountainous Dara District affected about 600 households. Avalanche-prevention measures are not used widely in Afghanistan.

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