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78 people, 77,000 cattle die in Afghanistan’s bitter cold winter

At least 78 people died of nearly -20 cold in Afghanistan during the country’s worst winter in more than a decade, authorities said on Thursday.

While around 78 people die in the freezing winter, 77,000 livestock have also died in the past nine days, threatening to deepen the country’s food insecurity. “Lost livelihoods and assets further endanger Afghan families at a time when 21.2 million people urgently need continued food and agricultural support,” said UNOCHA on Twitter.

Samira Sayed-Rahman, Afghanistan, in Communications & Advocacy shared, “Temperatures are expected to drop below -20° in #Kabul this week, and already well below in other parts of #Afghanistan. This is in the midst of a worsening humanitarian crisis and bans on female aid workers preventing aid from reaching the most vulnerable.
A brutal winter for Afghans.”

Many aid groups have partially suspended operations in recent weeks due to a Taliban decree that most female NGO workers could not work, leaving agencies unable to operate many programs in the conservative country.

As waves of freezing temperatures swept through Afghanistan, the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority said that deaths were recorded from January 8-18, and the statement read. Temperatures dropped to as low as -31 degrees Fahrenheit in some regions during this period, according to the statement. Deaths from hypothermia were recorded in the provinces of Baghlan, Badghis, Herat, Jowzjan, Faryab, and Khost.

According to officials, 70,000 cattle also died as a result of the unusually cold weather.  At least 78 people have died of cold in Afghanistan during the country’s worst winter in more than a decade, authorities said on Thursday with deaths from the cold have been recorded in eight of the country’s 34 provinces, officials said. The coldest winter in 15 years, which has seen temperatures dip as low as -34 degrees Celsius, has hit Afghanistan in the middle of a severe economic crisis.

“The weather will get colder in the next few days, therefore it is necessary to consider humanitarian aid for affected people,” said Abdullah Ahmadi, the head of the operations center for emergency conditions at the Ministry of Disaster Management. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said last week that the restrictions on female workers were hampering efforts to deliver aid.

“Humanitarian partners are providing winterization support to families, including heating, cash for fuel, and warm clothes, but distributions have been severely impacted by the ban on female NGO aid workers,” it said.

Even in the early part of winter, health workers had reported a sharp increase in the number of young children suffering from serious cases of pneumonia and other respiratory diseases, in part due to worsening poverty that left people unable to properly heat their homes.

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