Massive avalanches in a valley not far from the Afghan capital have reportedly killed nearly 200 people, adding to a total of almost 250 deaths from the worst such snow slides in three decades in the country's mountainous northeast.

Rescue workers using bulldozers worked to clear roads to the Panjshir Valley area just northeast of Kabul — an area where villagers have been cut off for almost a week.

Gov. Abdul Rahman Kabiri, the acting governor of Panjshir province, said a total 196 people had been killed and dozens more injured in the deadly avalanches. Hundreds of homes have been damaged and destroyed, he said, according to The Wall Street Journal. Some 50 others were killed in avalanches elsewhere.

Al-Jazeera reports that:

"Large parts of Afghanistan have been covered in snow as a major storm interrupted an otherwise mild and dry winter."The heavy snowstorms, which began early Tuesday, hampered rescue efforts. Snowfall from the storm was nearly three feet deep in places, and fallen trees blocked roads in the Panjshir Valley."

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