At least 70 people and 70,000 livestocks have frozen to death across Afghanistan

At least 70 people and 70,000 livestock have frozen to death across Afghanistan over the past week, as the country battles through, in some places, double-digit sub-zero temperatures and heavy snowfall.

KabulNow spoke to locals in some of the affected areas. No relief had reached them, they said.

Adverse weather conditions and the Taliban’s ban on women working as aid workers, according to the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for Afghanistan (UNOCHA) have had severe impact on aid deliveries. UNOCHA warned on last Friday that temperatures would plummet as low as -35, and said that humanitarian organisations were providing aid despite the restrictions.

And UNOCHA said in a tweet on Wednesday that the cold weather had killed thousands of livestocks in the east, west and north of the country, worsening the plight of the people affected.

The extreme weather has inflicted casualties in different regions of Afghanistan with the northern Jowzjan province reporting 18 deaths, including women and children, followed by the northeastern Badakhshan province where 11 children lost their lives in recent days. 23 others died in the provinces of Badghis (8 deaths), Sar-e-Pul (7), Faryab (2 deaths) Kandahar (3 deaths), and Paktia (3 deaths).

Confirming that heavy snowfall and the cold weather killed a total of 18 people in the northern Jowzjan province, spokesman for Taliban governor in the province, Abdul Sattar Halimi, said today that five women and four children were among the victims. 

One child has died in Faizabad and 10 other children died in Shahrak-e-Buzurk district as a result of the freezing weather and seasonal diseases, sources in the northeastern Badakhshan province confirmed to KabulNow today.

“There are no medicines in the district’s medical clinics while the seasonal diseases have increased dramatically and most of the patients are children,” said the Taliban district governor for Shahrak-e-Buzurk while confirming the death of seven children. 

Speaking to KabulNow, residents the northern city of Sar-e-Pul described the cold weather unprecedented.

“A woman and two children, aged 7 and 10 froze to death under a tent” a source in the eastern Paktia province to KabulNow.

Moreover, local authorities confirmed that at least 8,127 people, including more than 3,000 children, have fallen sick in the provinces of Takhar, Kandahar, and Herat over the past three weeks.

The harsh weather conditions are set to continue in most part of Afghanistan in the coming days.

Hayatullah Imami, head of the provincial hospital in Takhar, said on Tuesday that the hospital had received 7,000 patients, including 3,000 children, over the past three weeks. He called on the Taliban-run Ministry of Public Health and humanitarian organisations to pay special attention to the province.

“Diseases have significantly increased among the people during the winter. Medical centres in districts and the provincial hospital in Taloqan are all facing lack of facilities and medicines,” said Sarwar, a resident of Taloqan, capital of Takhar.

Besmillah, is a resident of Takhar’s Namak Ab district, complained about lack of health services and medicine to deal with the cold.

In the southern province of Kandahar, according to the city’s Department of Public Health 1,127 people were hospitalised. And 58 were admitted to hospital in the western city of Herat.