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21 People Killed, 7 Missing After Avalanche Strikes Afghanistan Province

Representational image.

Representational image.

He said the number of dead was expected to climb with cold weather and difficult conditions hampering rescue efforts.

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Kabul: Atleast 21 people were killed after a series of avalanches struck a central province in Afghanistan, authorities said Friday.

According to Ahmad Tameem Azimi, spokesman of the ministry for disaster management, seven people remain missing following the avalanches in central Daykundi province on Thursday. Ten people have been injured.

The 21 killed were all from two families in the area, Azimi said. At least 50 houses were destroyed. Azimi added that search and rescue teams have been working since Thursday to find the missing and help the victims.

He said the number of dead was expected to climb with cold weather and difficult conditions hampering rescue efforts. Most highways have been closed for weeks, due to heavy snowfall and fears of avalanches.

This winter in Afghanistan has been harsh, with heavy snowfall, avalanches and flash flooding. Thursday's deaths bring the death toll from avalanches and flash floods in the country in the past two months to 72.

Scores have also been injured and 2,400 houses have been swept away in flash floods since the start of winter. Afghanistan has suffered through more than four decades of war and conflict since the Soviet invasion in 1979.

But natural disasters such as landslides, floods and avalanches have also taken a heavy toll on a country with little infrastructure or development outside of its major cities. Environmental degradation has also worsened the problems.

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