Severe Cold Wave Kills More than 150 People in Afghanistan

Severe Cold Wave Kills More than 150 People in Afghanistan

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – At least 157 people have died in Afghanistan’s harsh winter, a Taliban official said Tuesday, with the death toll doubling in less than a week as millions face bitter temperatures with minimal humanitarian aid.

According to a report in CNN, the country is suffering one of its coldest winters, with temperatures plummeting to as low as minus 28 degrees Celsius (minus 18 Fahrenheit) in early January – far below the nationwide average of between 0 and 5 degrees Celsius for this time of year, Firstpost reported.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said on Twitter Sunday it was delivering aid such as blankets, heating and shelter to some 565,700 people.

“But much more is needed amid one of the coldest spells in years,” it added.

More than 75,000 livestock also have died as a result of the chill, Shafay Rahimi, a spokesman for the ministry said. He estimated that the Taliban have tried to reach and help more than 1 million people across the country and are “still trying our best to support more families during this harsh cold weather.”

The Taliban takeover in August 2021 sent Afghanistan’s economy into a tailspin and transformed the country, driving millions into poverty and hunger. Foreign aid stopped almost overnight.

Sanctions on Taliban rulers, a halt on bank transfers and frozen billions in Afghanistan’s currency reserves have already restricted access to global institutions and the outside money that supported the country’s aid-dependent economy before the withdrawal of US and NATO forces.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that bitterly cold weather in Afghanistan has reportedly killed thousands of livestock across the eastern, western and northern regions.

“Lost livelihoods and assets further endanger Afghan families at a time when 21.2 millions people urgently need continued food and agricultural support,” said OCHA in its weekly digest.

Humanitarian groups are providing winterization support to families, including heating, cash for fuel and warm clothes, but distributions have been severely impacted by the de facto authorities ban on female NGO aid workers, OCHA added.

During an emergency meeting, Mullah Mohammad Abbas Akhund, the Taliban minister for natural disaster management, called for more aid. He said the numbers are not precise because the government has little access to remote areas.

In a separate statement last week, the Taliban ordered relevant authorities and government officials to help affected families.

“We are deeply saddened by that our countrymen have lost their lives in some provinces due to the severe cold weather,” said the statement.

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