Worst winter in a decade claims lives of more than 150 people and 70 000 livestock, Afghanistan

Worst winter in a decade claims lives of more than 150 people and 70 000 livestock, Afghanistan

At least 157 people have died in Afghanistan’s harsh winter as of January 24, 2023, with the death toll doubling in less than a week. Officials are describing this winter as the worst in a decade.

The country is suffering one of its coldest winters, with temperatures plummeting to as low as -28 °C (-18 °F) in early January – far below the nationwide average of between 0 and 5 °C (23 – 41 °F) for this time of year.

In addition, around 70 000 livestock have frozen to death across the country.

“Most of the people who lost their lives to the cold were shepherds or people living in rural areas. They didn’t have access to healthcare,” Acting Minister of Disaster Management Mullah Mohammad Abbas Akhund told the BBC.

“We’re concerned about those who are still living in the mountain regions. Most of the roads which pass through the mountains have been closed due to snow. Cars have got stuck there and passengers have died in the freezing temperatures.”

Abbas Akhund said that many areas of Afghanistan are now completely cut off by snow, adding that military helicopters had been sent to the rescue, but they couldn’t land in the most mountainous regions.

While warmer temperatures are expected over the next 10 days, the death toll is expected to continue rising.

References:

1 Afghanistan: Freezing weather kills at least 124 people – BBC – January 24, 2023

2 Extreme cold kills more than 150 people in Afghanistan, Taliban says – CNN – January 24, 2023

Featured image credit: Matt Hecht

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