Pakistan on Saturday dispatched two C-130 aircraft loaded with relief goods for victims of the avalanches in Afghanistan.
“To express solidarity with the Afghan brethren affected by the avalanche, two C-130 aircraft were dispatched today from Nur Khan airbase to Panjsher province,” says an Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) press release.
The goods included tents, blankets, bottled water, stoves and foodstuff.
On February 26, avalanches triggered by heavy snow killed more than 100 people in mountainous areas of northern Afghanistan, officials said as rescuers battled to save dozens more trapped in the snow.
More than 250 people have been killed in a series of avalanches triggered by heavy snowfall around Afghanistan this week, provincial authorities said.
Almost all of the victims were in Panjshir province, approximately 150 kilometres north of Kabul, acting governor Abdul Rahman Kabiri told AFP.
The avalanches came after two days of heavy snow destroyed more than 100 homes in the province and blocked main roads, making it difficult for rescue workers to reach the stricken villages.
“Ordinary people and government employees are using shovels and bare hands to rescue those who are still trapped under the snow,” Kabiri said, warning that the toll could rise without emergency help.
“We have gathered 300 people to help with the rescue, but we don’t have the equipment we need,” he added.
As temperatures plunged well below freezing, workers continued to toil into the night to rescue at least 28 people still believed to be trapped in their houses buried under the snow.
Around 30 people also suffered from frostbite and other injuries after being rescued, the acting governor said. “We will continue the rescue operation throughout the night,” Kabiri added.
The ongoing overt and covert efforts for peace in Afghanistan have rekindled hopes for the Afghans who have been oscillating between hope and despair for decades. Taliban has agreed, though not publicly, to engage with the administration of President Ashraf Ghani – thanks to ‘facilitation’ by Pakistan.
The United Nations, on February 27, appreciated Pakistan’s ‘positive role’ in facilitating reconciliation in Afghanistan and expressed hope that the renewed push for peace talks would pave the way for long-term stability in the war-ravaged country.