Avalanche kills scores in remote Afghan village

REPORTING FROM KABUL, AFGHANISTAN -- A harsh and snowy Afghan winter is on the wane, and warming temperatures are bringing a deadly new threat.

A huge avalanche has all but buried a village that was home to about 200 people in a remote area of the country’s northeast, Afghan authorities said. Thirty-seven people are known to be dead and three injured, with the toll expected to grow. Many are believed buried in their homes.

Searchers have struggled to reach the site in Badakhshan province, police said. The area is so isolated that it took hours for people from a neighboring village to arrive, and more time to hike out and raise the alarm. The first rescuers to arrive in the hamlet of Disty after Sunday night’s giant snowslide were armed with little more than shovels.

“The entire village was hit,” said Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai, a spokesman for the northern regional police.

Avalanche danger is at its height in late winter and early spring. In February 2010, an avalanche in the Salang Pass, which cuts through the Hindu Kush range north of Kabul, killed nearly 200 people, trapping many in their cars and sending other vehicles plunging over a steep precipice.

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