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Heavy rains, snowfall leave dozens dead in Pakistan, Afghanistan

13 Jan 2020 Al Jazeera

Severe winter weather has struck parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan, with heavy snowfall, rains and flash floods that left at least 43 dead, officials said as authorities struggled to clear and reopen highways and evacuate people to safer places.

In Pakistan, where 25 people were reported killed, much of the damage struck southwestern Balochistan province.


Imran Zarkon, chief of disaster management in Balochistan, said 14 died there in the past 24 hours, mainly when roofs collapsed amid heavy snowfall.

Heavy snowfall had forced closures of many highways and some parts in the province were under six inches of snow.

Pakistani paramilitary soldiers remove snow from roads near the Afghan border in Chaman, Pakistan, 12 January 2020. Reports state that many cities in Pakistan are experiencing unusual cold weather conditions during which regular daytime temperatures fall below zero degree Celsius in wide parts of the country. EPA-EFE/AKHTER GULFAM
Pakistani paramilitary soldiers remove snow from roads near the Afghan border in Chaman on Sunday 2020 [Akhter Gulfam/EPA]

Eleven people were killed in eastern Punjab province when their roofs caved in under strong rains, said Abdul Sattar, an official with the state-run emergency service.

In Afghanistan, at least 18 people, including women and children, died on account of the severe weather, according to provincial officials.

Hasibullah Shaikhani, a press officer with the state ministry for disaster management, said most of the highways in Afghanistan were closed due to heavy snowfall and fears of avalanches.

Of the Afghan casualties, eight people were killed in southern Kandahar province, said Bahir Ahamdi, spokesman for the provincial governor.

In western Herat province, seven people died, including five members of the same family, said Abdul Ahad Walizada, spokesman for the provincial police chief.

Three people were killed in southern Helmand province, said Omar Zwak, spokesman for the provincial governor.

Residents of the Afghan capital, Kabul, where temperatures dropped to -15 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit), abandoned driving and struggled to get to work on snow-covered roads.

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