Sunday, 19 January 2020

Kashmir avalanches and landslides leave 55 people dead

At least 55 people have been killed and more are missing after avalanches and landslides hit Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

The region's Neelum Valley was particularly hard hit, with many people left cut off from help.

While the area is prone to weather disasters, the current toll is one of the deadliest in recent history.

The harsh weather has also killed dozens in other parts of Pakistan, and in India and Afghanistan.

Pakistani Kashmir was the worst-hit area, with 55 people killed and 10 others missing, Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority said.

In most places the weather improved on Tuesday, but many of the worst affected areas remain cut off.

In Pakistan's Balochistan province, officials put the death toll at 20 including 12 women and seven children.

Eight people have also died in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir, according to local media.

In Afghanistan, the official toll stands at 24 dead and 40 wounded over the past two weeks, with most of the casualties occurring over the past three days.

The worst-affected provinces in the country include Helmand, Kandahar, Herat and Kabul. Rescue efforts are under way.

Pakistani authorities have told the BBC that across Neelum Valley, at least 51 people have been killed and over 40 injured by both avalanches and landslides.

More than 100 houses have been destroyed or damaged.

Police say most routes to access the valley are blocked, so rescue teams cannot get in.

Neelum Valley is a narrow crescent-shaped valley that runs some 130km (81 miles) from end to end, surrounded on both sides by tall mountains.

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