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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Avalanche in Afghanistan - News Updates

Afghan avalanches may have killed over 60.

Avalanche in Afghanistan
February 10 2010 : Afghan officials say they fear more than 64 people may have been killed by a massive avalanche along a key northern road.

Interior Minister Hanif Atmar said Tuesday that rescuers have already recovered 24 bodies from the Salang Pass, but they fear that more than 40 others still trapped have already died.

Hundreds of people have been rescued, but the 3,400-meter-high mountain pass, as well as a nearby tunnel, remain blocked.

Local officials said days of heavy snow led to avalanches that buried part of the mountain pass that connects Kabul to the northern city Mazar-i-Sharif.

President Hamid Karzai has released a statement expressing condolences for the victims and ordered Afghan public works officials to assist the rescue effort.

U.S. troops respond to avalanche in Afghanistan

Bulldozers and helicopters were deployed in Afghanistan Tuesday to help reach people still trapped by a series of avalanches in a mountain pass.

The bodies of 24 people were recovered during the search-and-rescue, but officials say as many as 40 others could be trapped.

Avalanche in AfghanistanAlmost 2,500 people were rescued from their snow-covered vehicles. Afghan and coalition forces treated the more than 400 injured people before taking them to Bagram Airbase.

Military helicopters are dropping food packages to people stuck on roads blocked by snow. The avalanches happened Monday, endangering vehicles along several miles of road. Officials say there was little warning to prepare for the cascading snow.

ANSF leads rescue and ISAF assists in Afghanistan avalanche

Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) have responded quickly after the flooding and avalanches that occurred in the last two days.

Crews from the ANSF, Afghan National Army Air Corps (ANAAC) and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), have been well-coordinated, working together, rescuing motorists and more than 70 trapped civilians. At least 250 Afghans were also taken to Bagram Air Field and treated for injuries, provided with food, shelter and warm blankets.

Avalanche in AfghanistanThe Afghan National Army (ANA) has evacuated more than 200 people to safety in the area of the Salang Tunnel in Parwan province, where the multiple avalanches occurred Monday after the heavy snow. Blankets were also delivered to other victims by ANAAC helicopters, with approximately 150 vehicles reported as stranded.

Members of the ANA and the Afghan National Police provided relief for over 800 villagers, victims of the floods, in the Zharay district in Kandahar province. Other civilians from an isolated village were rescued, housed and fed after ANAAC helicopters searched the area.

“This is another example of the improving capability of the Afghan forces in responding and protecting citizens,” said Brig. Gen. Luigi Scollo, ISAF Joint Command director of operations. “The Afghans have clearly been in the lead from planning through conducting the missions. The life-saving accomplishments on the Afghan National Security Forces were particularly noteworthy,” he added.

At least 60 people have been reported dead although the number of casualties may rise after rescuers continue their way to areas where the avalanche hit worse.

Avalanche in Afghanistan left injuries

In Afghanistan, an avalanche occurred Monday on a mountain which is north of Kabul killed nearly 28 people while leaving 1,500 stuck in their cars as a result of the snow that blocked the roads.

The Afghan Defense Ministry released a statement saying nearly 70 more people were injured and taken to hospitals while the police and rescue teams continue to search for people.

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