The Heat Is Online

Afghan Cold Snap Leaves 100 Dead

Severe Cold, Snow Kills Scores in Afghanistan, Jan. 17, 2008

KABUL - Cold weather and heavy snow have killed more than 100 people and more than 35,000 head of cattle in the past week across Afghanistan, officials said on Wednesday.


Several major roads have also been blocked by avalanches and hundreds of people have been affected by bad weather, they said.


"Our latest estimates show that 101 people have been killed so far," Ghulam Mohammad Mujahid, an official at the Afghan Red Crescent Society, told Reuters.

The government and foreign aid groups have been holding meetings to find ways to send food and other supplies to those affected by severe cold and snow and for better coordination of aid delivery, aid workers said.


The umbrella body for foreign and local aid groups, ACBAR, said 24 of the 34 provinces have been affected and at least three of them, in the central region, were totally inaccessible on Wednesday.


"We have report of 118 deaths and destruction of some houses (in the past week). It is snowing and we are concerned about more deaths," Saleem Bahramand an official at ACBAR told Reuters.


The International Committee of the Red Cross has sent food supplies for 106 families in the western province of Herat, near the border with Iran, said Graziella Piccolo, a spokesperson for the organisation.


More snow is forecast in several parts of the mountainous country, Afghan officials said.


Meanwhile, the Afghan government has voiced concern over the expulsion of Afghan refugees living in Iran, urging its neighbour to halt the deportations due to cold weather and its lack of resources to look after them, the Foreign Ministry said.

Afghanistan's government largely relies on foreign funds and troops for fighting the Taliban-led insurgency, propping up its economy and running its institutions.