Death toll at 168 from Afghanistan avalanches

Updated 11:10 AM EST, Thu February 26, 2015

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Authorities fear the toll will grow higher

Panjshir is a small, mountainous province

(CNN) —  

As the avalanches continue in mountainous northeastern Afghanistan, the death toll keeps rising.

For a third day in a row, heavy snowstorms caused avalanches in the Panjshir province on Thursday, bringing the total to 168, officials said.

They began Tuesday, continued Wednesday and two more avalanches took place Thursday, said provincial Gov. Abdul Rahman Kabiri.

Authorities fear the toll will grow much higher since rescue personnel are 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.