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Afghan village struck by deadly avalanche

Officials say that so far just four of the village’s 200 residents have been confirmed alive and 37 bodies recovered.

File photo: Internally displaced Afghans wait for blankets and winter clothing at a camp in Kabul, 20 February.
File photo: Internally displaced Afghans wait for blankets and winter clothing at a camp in Kabul, 20 February.
Image: AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq/PA Images

AFGHAN AUTHORITIES say an avalanche has destroyed a village in northeastern Afghanistan, with scores feared dead.

Deputy governor of Badakhshan province Shams Ul Rahman said today that 37 people have been confirmed dead, but that he expects the toll to rise.

The avalanche occurred on Sunday night in Darwaz district. He says it took government officials in the provincial capital of Faizabad 11 hours to drive to the remote area.

People from nearby villages uncovered 37 bodies, but the recovery work continues. Ul Rahman says 200 people lived in the village and that initial reports are that only three women and one child survived.

Separately, dozens of people have died as a result of what has been the severest winter in Afghanistan for 15 years. Many of the deaths were among children at camps for internally displaced persons in Kabul where temperatures have fallen well below freezing in recent weeks.

The Save the Children charity says that young children and infants are particularly vulnerable to the drop in temperatures at night as many families are without blankets or adequate shelter against the cold.

Thousands of people have fled to the camps to escape the Taliban insurgency against the Afghan government and security forces.

- Additional reporting by the AP

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