Avalanches kill at least 67 people in Afghanistan and Pakistan

He added that the raging avalanches had destroyed over 150 homes and heavily damaged 50 others in different provinces.

Authorities said they expect the death toll to quickly escalate as numerous worst-hit areas have yet to be reached.

"Fortunately we arrived on time and there is not a single casualty", he said, noting that officials expected the road to reopen quickly.

"Most of the roads leading to the affected village have been blocked by the snow, and the local officials were trying to dispatch rescue teams to provide assistance and aid to affected people in the district with hard terrains", he said.

Earlier today, a public holiday was declared by the Afghan government due to the heavy snowfall.

The Salang highway connecting northern and central Afghanistan and crossing high mountains was also closed and will remain blocked until the snow is cleared from the main road, said police general Rajab Salangi, who oversees the area.

Unusually, snow even fell in the southern province of Kandahar.

In Afghanistan almost 100 died in the past three days - including 16 in overnight avalanches just north of the capital Kabul.

Nine people, including four children, were killed in the village of Shershal in the region - which has experienced up to 4ft of snowfall.

Several homes were destroyed in the town, and more people were feared trapped under the snow.

One rescue worker died when an avalanche struck a checkpost near to the border with Afghanistan.

In the Khyber tribal district on the Afghan border in the north-west, three infant girls were killed and two women injured when the roof of their house collapsed in heavy rain.

Last month heavy snowfall and freezing weather killed 27 children, all under the age of five, in Jawzjan province in northern Afghanistan.

  • Rogelio Becker