Severe winter weather has struck parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan, with heavy snowfall, rains and flash floods that left at least 54 people dead, officials said Monday as authorities struggled to clear and reopen highways and evacuate people to safer places.
The Neelum Valley area is the worst hit with 57 people killed, while four others were killed in Rawalakot and Kotli areas, according to the report.
Snow slides and avalanches happen in Kashmir throughout the winter, frequently blocking streets and leaving roads disconnected.
Hasibullah Shaikhani, a press officer with the state ministry for disaster management, said most of the highways in Afghanistan were closed due to heavy snowfall and fears of avalanches.
He directed the SDMA to collaborate with the relevant departments and rush to the far-flung remote areas of the state to provide relief to the affected people at the earliest.
Workers remove snow from a hotel roof in Pakistan's Balochistan province.
A total of 58 houses were fully destroyed while 82 others got partially damaged in separate snow and rain triggered accidents in the territory, a handout by the disaster management authority of the Pakistan said.
Most casualties were caused after roofs collapsed under thick snow, he added.
Eight people have also died in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir, according to local media. Harsh winters often take a heavy toll in mountainous Afghanistan, and the country remains poor despite billions of dollars in aid.
Dal Lake after heavy snowfall.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since their independence in 1947.
"Five army soldiers and a border security force personnel were killed in the snow avalanches on the Line of Control", Srinagar-based army spokesperson Colonel Rajesh Kalia told AFP.
Search teams digging for bodies buried under avalanches in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir had a glimmer of hope on Wednesday when a 12-year-old girl was found alive after being buried for 18 hours.