‘200 passengers trapped in Ghor snow yet to be rescued’

FIROZKOH (Pajhwok): Around 200 passengers have been stranded in snow after avalanches in Lal-wa-Sarjangal district of western Ghor province for the last four days awaiting rescue assistance.

Mohammad Reza Momini, one of the relatives of the trapped people in Kharqul Valley of the district, who currently stays in a restaurant in Kabul, told Pajhwok Afghan News that around 200 passengers who were heading to Kabul had been stuck in snow in Kharqul Valley after avalanches since the last four days.

He said that women, children, elderly people and patients were also among those stuck. “My uncle, a cousin and his son are among those who are seriously stuck in the snow and are in a bad condition right now,” he added.

Mobile phone signals are weak in the area but some passengers after walking a distance with hardships found access to telephone signals and contacted their relatives about the problem, Momini added.

He said the trapped passengers had contacted local officials including the governor, police chief, provincial council members, the district police chief, the public work director, natural disaster management authority, and the parliament but no one reached for their help.

He said the officials contacted lied to people and said they were in action rescuing the passengers in order avoid the blame.

Abdul Hai Khatibi, Ghor governor’s spokesman, said parts of Kharqul Valley had been cleared of snow and passengers could return to Lalwa Sarjangal district.

He said no passengers were evacuated from the area but they disallowed other passengers to travel on the route.

Khatibi was unaware about the number of the trapped passengers but said all resources including hotels and restaurants were available in Kharqul Valley where he claimed the passengers had taken refuge.

Meanwhile, Ghulam Nabi Qanbari, acting public works director of neighboring Bamayan province, said that passengers in 10 vehicles were stranded in Kharqul Valley but they had access to safe places.

He confirmed avalanches had blocked the road in Kharqul Valley but said clearing operation was rapidly ongoing in the area.

A day earlier, a person died and two others were hospitalized after trapped in snow for a long time in Tolak district of Ghor.