Death toll at 168 from Afghanistan avalanches

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Authorities fear the toll will grow higher

Panjshir is a small, mountainous province

Kabul, Afghanistan CNN  — 

Heavy snowstorms have caused a series of avalanches in mountainous northeastern Afghanistan over a two-day period, killing scores of people.

For almost a week, avalanches caused by heavy snowstorms have killed 196 people in the mountainous province of Panjshir, Afghanistan, officials said on Monday.

Ten new avalanches were reported early Monday morning, without any casualties. Over the weekend, a total of 40 avalanches hit the area, said Bab Jan Hakimi, head of disaster response at the Afghan Red Crescent Society.

However, authorities fear the toll will grow much higher since rescue personnel have yet to reach the worst affected areas.

Panjshir is a small, mountainous province north of the capital, Kabul. Its residents are generally poor, earning their living as farmers, shepherds or operators of small businesses such as groceries.