200 killed in parts of Afghanistan because of severe winter weather


Geneva : The United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) said Friday that the harsh winter weather in the Western and Central Highlands Regions of Afghanistan over the past weeks led so far to 200 deaths. UN OCHA spokesperson Elizabeth Byrs told reporters that the provinces of Herat, Farah, Badghis, Ghor in Western Region and Dai Kundi were severely affected, with the majority of roads closed and the price of what food and fuel are available, rising steeply. Herat Airport, the main airport in the West, closed for a number of days.

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She added that Badghis was particularly hard hit by several avalanches in Murghab. “Approximately 100 villages are cut off from the district centres in Ghor. Several people killed by avalanches in Saghar district or trapped in the snow while on the road. Ghorian, Shindand and Farsi districts hardest hit in Heart province. In Farah province, Purchaman and Lash wa Juwein districts were most affected,” said Byrs. She added that Provincial Combined Disaster Management Teams have also reported that some 42,000 goats, sheep and cows died, being the Herat Province the most affected with some 29,000 livestock killed.
Byrs said that in order to support coordination by the Humanitarian regional team in Herat a UN team will travel from Kabul, including the OCHA Regional Office Disaster Response Adviser and the UNAMA Civil-Military Adviser. The support team may deploy to some of the other affected provinces if possible.

Byrs explained that Winter preparedness efforts and pre-positioning had taken place but resources were spread thinly across the country and, particularly at local level, stocks have rapidly been exhausted in these worst affected areas and distribution of the stocks remains is hampered by lack of access.