DISASTERS

Avalanches in Afghanistan kill at least 54

Avalanches in Afghanistan have killed at least 54 people in the last three days, officials said Sunday.

Omer Mohammadi, spokesman for the Afghan state minister for disaster management and humanitarian affairs, said that more than 50 others have been injured in different parts of the country, updating an earlier toll.

He said more than 150 homes have been destroyed by the avalanches and that 50 others were heavily damaged. The avalanches, which came after heavy snowfall, have also killed an estimated 550 animals and destroyed more than 2,500 acres of farmland, Mohammadi said.

Mohammad Aseem, governor of the hard-hit northern province of Parwan, said that 16 people were killed and eight others injured in avalanches in two districts. He said a team had been dispatched to affected areas but that many roads were blocked by snow. He and other officials said the death toll may rise as reports come in from remote areas.

On Sunday, the government declared a public holiday due to the heavy snowfall.