According to media reports, the snowstorms began on Tuesday and continued through Thursday, causing some of the worst avalanches in decades and resulting in the deaths of some 180 people. The death toll is expected to rise. Mr. Ban extended his sincere condolences to the people and Government of Afghanistan, especially those who have lost family members, friends, homes and livelihoods in these disasters, said a statement released by his spokesperson this afternoon. United Nations agencies and humanitarian partners have responded quickly to support the Government of Afghanistan in providing assistance to those who have been displaced, where they are accessible. They have also bolstered contingency planning to increase the resilience of families and communities in the longer term, the note said.