Kabul [Afghanistan], January 25: The death toll caused by a severe cold spell in Afghanistan has increased, claiming more than 120 lives in the past two weeks, an official said on Monday evening.
ShafiullahRahimi, spokesman of the country's National Disaster Management Authority, told dpa that more than 50 houses have been completely or partially destroyed and 70,000 animals have also perished.
Respiratory diseases, mainly among children, increase annually during the cold season but this winter has been unprecedentedly cold, and more Afghans are suffering economically.
According to Afghanistan's Meteorological Department, the lowest temperature recorded in January was as cold as minus 34 degrees Celsius in the central province of Ghor.
As many as 5,000 children have been hospitalized in the country in a week, the country's Health Ministry said on Monday. The outbreak of a respiratory disease claimed the lives of 21 residents of Pamir in Badakhshan province, Rahimi added. There are also reports of families dying from inhaling gas fumes.
The capital Kabul with an estimated 5.5 million residents is in blackout as neighbouring Uzbekistan suspended electricity exports to Afghanistan. This week, the Taliban's foreign minister called on Tashkent to comply with the terms of the agreement on the electricity supply.
Decades of war, consecutive years of drought, and recurrent natural disasters have left a devastating impact on Afghanistan.
On Monday, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that 28.3 million people - two-thirds of Afghanistan's population - will need urgent humanitarian assistance in 2023.
Source: Qatar Tribune