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Avalanche kills at least 37 in Afghanistan

At least 37 people died and hundreds were still trapped in northern Afghanistan on Tuesday when a snow avalanche covered an entire village near the northern border with Tajikistan, local officials said.

Afghan army helicopters descended on the remote village in the north of Badakhshan province to try rescue families, the latest victims to Afghanistan's worse winter in 30 years.


"The way to the village is closed, it is covered in snow," provincial governor spokesman Abdul Marof Rasikh said of the village of around 300 people, located in the Shikai district.

Afghan army helicopters descended on the north of Badakhshan to try to rescue the trapped families, Al Jazeera reported.

Six people injured in the snow were evacuated to neighboring Tajikistan for emergency medical treatment, according to the network.

Nasir Hemat, director of the Red Crescent in Badakhsham, told the BBC rescue teams had also reached the remote site.

"Our rescue work is going on," Hemat told the network. "We are hoping we can rescue a lot of people and prevent a human catastrophe."

Though avalanches are fairly common in the mountainous north, Tuesday's deaths were seen as particularly painful for a country that has experienced its worse winter in decades, killing dozens in the capital Kabul and creating further food shortages in one of the world's poorest countries.

Before Tuesday, freezing cold and avalanches had claimed the lives of 60 people -- including 35 children -- in Badakhshan province this winter, officials said.

According to the BBC, Badakhshan is one of the country's poorest and most remote regions and is shut off by heavy snow every year.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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