At least 250 people have died amid massive avalanches and flooding as fresh waves of snow have hit the north east of Afghanistan.
More bodies have been found, including those of women and children, as rescue workers dig through the snow – according to deputy provincial chief of Panjshir province Najimudin Khan.
Bulldozers and machinery have been clearing the roads of the Panjshir Valley to reach remote villages where hundreds of homes have been destroyed by the 40m high avalanches.
All deaths have been attributed to the fall of snow or flooding. “We haven’t seen this much snow, or this many avalanches, for 30 years,” acting governor of the mountainous province Abdul Rahman Kabiri said.
Some 1,250 homes were also destroyed by the huge sheets of snow, which engulfed whole villages as they swept down from the Afghan peaks after days of heavy blizzards.
The government declared a three-day mourning period, starting Saturday, for the dead.
President Ghani has cancelled a journey to Iran mainly because of what he explained as a national tragedy.