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Afghanistan: Cold Wave - Jan 2020

Status
Ongoing
Countries
Afghanistan
Disaster types
Cold Wave

Several people have died as a result of heavy snow and low temperatures, which have affected parts of Afghanistan. As of 13 January, media report at least 17 fatalities. In Herat Province (central-west Afghanistan) and Kandahar Province (central Afghanistan), several houses have collapsed. Humanitarian aid operations have been hindered by the closure of key roads, including the Salang Tunnel and the Kabul-Kandahar Highway. (ECHO, 13 Jan 2020)

Last week, heavy snowfall and rain were reported in Zabul, Uruzgan, Kandahar and Hilmand provinces resulting in main roads connecting Kandahar to Kabul and Kandahar to Uruzgan being temporarily closed to public movement. Some 25 families (approximately 175 people) were affected by the heavy snowfall in Zabul province. Three members of a family were killed and two women and a child were injured when a room collapsed in Qalat district in Zabul province. In another incident, two people including a child were killed when a shop collapsed in Kandahar due to water damage caused by rain. Last week, 1,224 IDPs who were affected by conflict received humanitarian assistance in Kandahar, Zabul and Uruzgan provinces. Food and relief items were distributed by the Government to the 25 families who were affected by heavy snowfall in Zabul province. Assessments were ongoing to identify people who were displaced by conflict in Kandahar and Hilmand provinces. (OCHA, 15 Jan 2020)

Many areas of the country are still inaccessible, due to heavy snowfall, avalanches and landslides in the hilly part of the country, making it difficult to obtain a complete picture of the impact of the disaster and total number of affected families. However as per initial report of Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) around 655 houses are partially damaged, 30 houses are completely destroyed, 13 people dead, 40 people injured, and 322 families are displaced to the safe places. It is estimated that up to two meters of snow have fallen in different parts of Afghanistan and many avalanches are reported within a span of four nights. Initial assessments indicate that limited food supplies in local markets have caused an inflation in the prices. Worse yet, the frozen ground has made it a challenge for affected communities. (IFRC, 20 Jan 2020)

Heavy snowfall and rain continue to impact civilians in southern and western Afghanistan. In 2020, some 1,170 people were affected. Harsh weather conditions resulted in road closures interrupting the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Badghis province. Ongoing winterisation assistance reached tens of thousands of people in need since late last year including 68,000 internally displaced people in Hirat and Ghor provinces. (OCHA, 20 Jan 2020)

Reportedly, on 16 February, avalanches severely affected over 100 villages in seven districts in Daykundi province and caused significant damage to homes and agricultural land. Around 400 families are affected by avalanches and inter-agency teams are deployed to carry out needs assessment in Daykundi province. (OCHA, 23 Feb 2020)