Dozens of people killed as cold wave sweeps Afghanistan | Weather News

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At least 70 people and 70,000 cattle have died within a week as many areas experience a cold wave, with temperatures dropping as low as -33C (-27F).

At least 70 people and tens of thousands of cattle have died as a result of the freezing temperatures across Afghanistan, the country’s Disaster Management Ministry confirmed to Al Jazeera that Afghans are reeling from cold weather amid a humanitarian crisis.

The ministry said on Wednesday that 70 people and 70,000 cattle have died in the past week.

For the past two weeks, many areas of Afghanistan have been witnessing extremely cold weather, with the central Ghor region recording a low of -33C (-27F) over the weekend.

“This winter is the coldest in recent years,” said Mohammad Nasim Muradi, head of Afghanistan’s meteorological office.

“We expect the cold wave to continue for another week or more,” Muradi said.

People play volleyball on a cold winter day in Yaftal Sufla district of Badakhshan Province on January 18, 2023. - At least 70 people have died in a wave of freezing temperatures sweeping Afghanistan, officials said on 18 January, as severe weather adds to the humanitarian crisis in the poverty-stricken country.  (Photo by OMER ABAR/AFP)
People play volleyball on a cold winter day in Yaftali Sufla district of Badakhshan province in Afghanistan [Omer Abrar/AFP]

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid offered his “deepest condolences to the relatives and families” of victims.

“We are saddened to hear that several of our citizens have lost their lives due to extreme cold in some areas,” Mujahid wrote on Twitter.

He said that “relevant agencies and officials are directed to help the affected families as much as possible and use their opportunities to prevent more casualties”.

Vehicles are seen stuck on a road due to snowfall near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in Chaman on January 18, 2023. (Photo by Abdul BASIT/AFP)
Vehicles are seen stuck on a road due to snow near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in Chaman, Afghanistan on January 18, 2023 [Abdul Basit/AFP]

Images and videos circulating on social media show roads blocked by heavy snow in several central and northern areas.

This is the second winter in Afghanistan under Taliban rule since the withdrawal of US-led forces from power in August 2021. The country is in the middle of a humanitarian crisis, with more than half of the population of 38 million about meeting food shortages. Western sanctions and the international isolation of the Taliban administration have worsened the situation.

A man and a boy walk on a road on a cold winter day in the Yaftal Sufla district of Badakhshan Province on January 18, 2023. - At least 70 people have died in a wave of freezing temperatures sweeping Afghanistan, officials said on January 18, the weather is really contributing to a humanitarian crisis in the country which is affected by poverty.  (Photo by OMER ABAR/AFP)
A man and a boy walk on a road on a cold winter day in Yaftali Sufla district of Badakhshan province on January 18, 2023 [Omer Abrar/AFP]

Last month, many NGOs still working in Afghanistan suspended their work in protest at the Taliban government’s order banning women from working with humanitarian organizations, except in the field of Cheers. The Taliban have also banned girls from attending schools and universities.

On Tuesday, some aid groups said they had resumed operations after Taliban authorities confirmed that women will be allowed to work.

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