Avalanches kill more than 110 people in Pakistan, Afghanistan

At least 55 people were killed and many others were missing after avalanches hit Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir over the last 24 hours, senior government officials said.

Two Pakistani officials quoted by the Reuters news agency said on Tuesday many villagers were still stranded in the avalanches in the Neelum Valley area following heavy rains that also triggered landslides.

Many people were reported missing and feared dead as rescue efforts got under way, one of the officials said.

Flooding and harsh winter weather has killed more than 110 people across Pakistan and in neighbouring Afghanistan in recent days, officials said on Tuesday, as authorities struggled to reach people stranded by heavy snowfall.

At least 75 people died and 64 were injured across Pakistan, with several still missing, while a further 39 people were killed in Afghanistan, according to officials in both countries.

In Afghanistan, more than 300 houses were either destroyed or partially damaged throughout the country, said Ahmad Tamim Azimi, a spokesman for the Natural Disaster Management Authority.

“A cold snap, heavy snowfall and rains that started two weeks ago have caused damage,” he said, adding that most casualties were caused after roofs collapsed under thick snow.

Hardest hit were southern Kandahar, Helmand, Zabul and western Herat provinces.

In Herat, seven people,  all members of the same family and including children, died when their roof collapsed, Azimi added.

Harsh winters often take a heavy toll in mountainous Afghanistan and the wider region.

Forecasts suggest more harsh weather is on the way.