At least 17 killed by extreme cold snap in Afghanistan

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 con

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 con

The impact was most severe in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, where 55 deaths were reported in a 24-hour period, according to Waseem Uddin, a spokesman for Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority.

Meanwhile in western Pakistan, heavy snowfall in southwestern Balochistan destroyed several houses in the mountainous region, killing 17 people.

As per the details, at least six persons of a family, including women and children, were killed in a roof collapse due to heavy snow that occurred in Shahab Zai area.

In Kashmir's picturesque but conflict-riven Neelum Valley, heavy snowfall triggered several avalanches, including one that hit a village and killed at least 19 people.

Saturday's deaths bring the number of casualties from this year's cold snap to at least 24, as temperatures in parts of the country dropped to minus 12 degrees Celsius (10 Fahrenheit).

In 2017, at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in three avalanches, and in 2012, a massive avalanche in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir killed 140 people, including 129 Pakistani soldiers.

Mainly cold and dry weather is expected in most parts of the country tomorrow, with very cold in upper parts and north Balochistan, said the authority in its weekly outlook.

People walk on a road during heavy snow fall in Quetta, capital of Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan province on January 12, 2020.

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According to The News, 23-inch snowfall was recorded in parts of Chitral district including Lowari Tunnel.

Balochistan on Sunday imposed emergency in 7 districts of Balochistan following continuous heavy rain and snowfall across the province, ARY News reported.

In an update on Tuesday afternoon, officials said a further six Indian soldiers and six civilians has been killed in five separate avalanches in the region.

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.

The worst-affected provinces in the country include Helmand, Kandahar, Herat and Kabul.

Emergency had been declared in seven districts of Balochistan, which were badly affected due to heavy rain and snowfall.

Harsh winters often take a heavy toll in mountainous Afghanistan, and the country remains poor despite billions of dollars in aid.

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