More than 130 dead as avalanches and floods hit Pakistan and Afghanistan

Pakistani paramilitary soldiers remove snow from roads near the Afghan border in Chaman Pakistan 12 January 2020. Reports state that many cities in Pakistan are experiencing unusual cold weather con

At least 57 people were killed and many others reported missing after avalanches hit Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in the last 24 hours, the report quoted a senior government officials as saying.

Avalanches and landslides triggered by heavy snowfall and incessant rain across Pakistan have left almost 75 people, including women and children, dead and over 40 injured, media reports said on Tuesday.

The latest deaths raise the two countries' overall death toll from the severe weather to 126 since Sunday.

The worst affected area was Kashmir's Neelum Valley, where the 21 bodies were retrieved, said Ahmad Raza Qadri, a minister for disaster management.

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

Avalanches and landslides are common in mountainous Kashmir, which is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed by both in its entirety.

Levies officials said that more than 500 passengers were stranded in Kan Mehtarzai area of Killa Saifullah district, where temperatures dipped to as low as -14°C while heavy snowfall and strong winds nearly buried cars on the main National Highway.

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

In a statement, Pakistan's national disaster agency confirmed that the avalanche had struck a village in Pakistani Kashmir's Neelum Valley. While the rescue operation continues in the area, 28 people are still missing and the search continued during the day, but slowed down because of the darkness of the night, which created a major hurdle for the rescue teams to carry out their job, a disaster management official said.

Forecasts suggest more harsh weather is on the way.

According to available data, 45 houses are fully destroyed. Temperatures on Monday reached minus 15 degrees Celsius (minus 5 degrees Fahrenheit).

Faiez reported from Kabul, Afghanistan.

Another hard-hit region is Pakistan's Balochistan province, where at least 30 people have lost their lives - according to officials cited by the media, majority are women and children.

In the picturesque but conflict-riven Neelum Valley in Kashmir, heavy snowfall triggered several avalanches, including one that killed at least 19 people.

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