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Afghanistan avalanche buries village, kills at least 39

Hundreds more Afghan villagers remain trapped under a blanket of snow.

Washington avalanche 2012 02 20Enlarge
Three skiers were killed Feb. 19, 2012, in an avalanche in Washington state's Cascade Mountains. A fourth buried skier survived with an avalanche safety device. (TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/Getty Images)

An avalanche covered an entire village of 200 people in northern Afghanistan Sunday night, killing at least 39 people. While avalanches are fairly common in Afghanistan, this has been the struggling country's worst winter in 30 in years, Reuters reported. Hundreds more remain trapped in the snow.

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The village, Badakhshan, is one of the country's poorest and most isolated regions, BBC News reported. Rescue workers walked for two days to reach the remote village, the Associated Press reported. Using only shovels, the 100 or so rescue workers dug through piles of snow. 

“It is a mountainous area with so much snow,” Shams Ul Rahman, the deputy governor of Badakhshan, told the AP.  “My concern is that many more people were killed.”

Some areas in the Badakhshan province are covered under 13 feet of snow, the BBC said. Afghanistan officials had warned back in January that the country's winter conditions were at emergency levels. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/afghanistan/120306/afghanistan-avalanche-covers-village-kills-37