At least 17 people died as severe cold snap swept through Afghanistan on Saturday, January 11, 2020, bringing the total number of people killed by extremely cold weather this year to 24. The death toll may further increase as the Natural Disaster Management Authority is still trying to compile the total numbers.
Temperatures in parts of the country dropped to -12 °C (10 °F), while heavy snow disrupted normal life and closed numerous roads.
"We have received reports that heavy snowfall has caused casualties, but at the moment we don't have information on the exact number," said Tamim Azimi, a spokesman for the Natural Disaster Management team.
One of the areas that saw most snow was the western province of Herat, where roofs of two houses collapsed due to heavy snow, killing at least eight people, including women and children.
Since the New Year, a lot of major roads have closed due to heavy snowfall, including the Salang Tunnel which connects central Afghanistan with the north of the country, as well as the Kabul-Kandahar highway.
According to Mohammad Nasim Muradi, the head of the forecasting wing of the meteorological department, further cold waves are expected in the following weeks.
Although Afghanistan is no stranger to severe winter weather, this year's cold snap has been particularly harsh, the meteorological department added.
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