Over 160 dead in cold snap in Afghanistan Taliban officials

Over 160 dead in cold snap in Afghanistan, Taliban officials say – DW (German)

According to official figures, a cold snap in Afghanistan has cost the lives of more than 160 people.

Afghanistan is experiencing its coldest winter in 15 years, with temperatures as low as -33 degrees Celsius (-27 degrees Fahrenheit) since January 10.

The country’s disaster management agency said Saturday the death toll rose by 88 to 166 over the past week, based on data from 24 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.

Crisis in Afghanistan, compounded by extreme temperatures

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Ministry official Abdul Rahman Zahid said in a video statement that the deaths were caused by floods, fires and gas heater leaks.

Around 100 houses were destroyed and almost 80,000 livestock died in the cold.

“The Afghan winter…as everyone in Afghanistan knows is the great harbinger of doom for so many families in Afghanistan as we go through these many years of humanitarian hardship…we are seeing some of the consequences in the loss of life,” said UN Secretary General Martin Das Griffiths told Portal news agency.

Woman pushes wheelbarrow loaded with vegetables and child along road covered with mud, water and snowThis is the second winter since the Taliban took power in KabulImage: Wakil KOHSAR/AFP

Afghanistan’s humanitarian crises

The World Health Organization (WHO) said this week that inclement weather prevented aid from reaching the northeastern province of Badakshan, where 17 people died from an “acute respiratory infection”.

Afghanistan is also struggling with a major hunger crisis. Aid agencies have warned that more than half of Afghanistan’s roughly 38 million people are starving and nearly 4 million children are suffering from malnutrition.

Since the Islamist Taliban takeover in 2021, foreign aid has fallen dramatically and the US has seized key central bank assets, exacerbating the country’s humanitarian crisis.

Last month, the Afghan Taliban government banned women from working in humanitarian groups, prompting many organizations to announce they would stop working in the country. An exception was granted to women NGO workers in the health sector, and some organizations resumed operations.

sdi/dj (AFP, Portal)