President Ashraf Ghani visited the avalanche affected Panjshir province on Friday to oversee the rescue operations in the northeastern province where dozens of homes were buried as a result of avalanches caused by heavy snow.
In an extraordinary meeting with Panjshir local officials and elders where CEO Abdullah Abdullah was also present, Ghani instructed the rescue teams and aid agencies to deliver assistances to the affected areas immediately and reopen the roads remaining blocked for several days.
So far, about 200 poepel have been confirmed dead and dozens of others are reportedly missing after avalanches hit parts of the mountainous province, 150 kilometers north of capital Kabul.
"No doubt that Panjshir's sorrow is a national sorrow," Ghani told the meeting. "Therefore, tonight we are having cabinet meeting that not only the public works ministry but all the ministries should be ready for it."
Ghani added that a group of foreign troops' engineers have also been assigned to examine the situation in Panjshir.
"I have assigned an engineering team of international troops to examine the situation, and also study the situation of rivers in order to take measurements for possible floods," Ghani noted. "I have brought 20 million Afghanis for the affected families."
Ministry of Public Works (MoPW) officials who were also present at the extraordinary meeting stated that efforts were underway to reopen the roads but stated that the snowstorms and fresh avalanches were hampering their work.
However, the residents and experts criticize the government for not taking measures before the occurrence of such easily-forecasted natural events.
"The government always makes plans after an incident," said Ibrahim Jafari, a university professor and expert on natural events. "The government needs to consult with the experts and study the vulnerable areas ahead of such incidents."
This year, about 12 provinces suffered heavy disasters by snow and avalanches, leaving many people dead and wounded. Panjshir, Badakhshan and Nuristan were among the provinces witnessing high deaths and damages.