At least seven people remain missing following Thursday's avalanches in central Daykundi province, a local official said. The fatalities bring the death toll from avalanches and flash floods in the country in the past two months to 72.

In this file photo, Afghans stand on the roof of a home damaged by an avalanche in Paryan district of Panjshir province, north of Kabul, Afghanistan. February 27, 2015.
In this file photo, Afghans stand on the roof of a home damaged by an avalanche in Paryan district of Panjshir province, north of Kabul, Afghanistan. February 27, 2015. (AP Archive)

A series of avalanches struck a central province in Afghanistan on Thursday, killing at least 21 people, authorities said on Friday.

According to Ahmad Tameem Azimi, spokesman of the ministry for disaster management, seven people remain missing following the avalanches, while 10 were injured. 

The 21 killed were all from two families in the area, Azimi said. At least 50 houses were destroyed. 

Azimi added that search and rescue teams have been working since Thursday to find the missing and help the victims. 

He said the number of dead was expected to climb with cold weather and difficult conditions hampering rescue efforts. 

Most highways have been closed for weeks, due to heavy snowfall and fears of avalanches.

This winter in Afghanistan has been harsh, with heavy snowfall, avalanches and flash flooding. 

Thursday's deaths bring the death toll from avalanches and flash floods in the country in the past two months to 72.

Scores have also been injured and 2,400 houses have been swept away in flash floods since the start of winter.

Afghanistan has suffered through more than four decades of war and conflict since the Soviet invasion in 1979. 

But natural disasters such as landslides, floods and avalanches have also taken a heavy toll on a country with little infrastructure or development outside of its major cities. 

Environmental degradation has also worsened the problems.

Source: AP