Kabul, Jan 23 (EFE).- At least 104 people have been killed in Afghanistan by a powerful cold wave and flash floods in recent weeks, the Taliban government said on Monday.
The Taliban’s decision to ban women from working in nonprofits, which led to many organizations pulling out of the country, has been criticized for leaving millions of Afghans without crucial assistance.
“According to data from the disaster management ministry, 104 people have been killed in 15 provinces since Jan. 10, with 50 houses completely or partially destroyed,” ministry spokesperson Janan Sayeq told EFE.
He said that extremely low temperatures – with the minimum dropping to -20 degrees Celsius – and widespread snowfall in large parts of the country including the capital has also resulted in the death of around 70,000 head of cattle.
Sayeq said that the northeastern part of the country was the worst affected.
The public health ministry on Sundays reported 17 deaths due to cold and respiratory diseases within 24 hours in the Badakshan province alone.
The Taliban, who seized control of Afghanistan in August 2021, said that they had sent aid teams in the worst-affected areas in coordination with government agencies and nonprofits.
Sayeq said that 40,000 families have received aid over the past month.
However, the Islamists’ recent decision to ban women from working in NGOs has been criticized by the international community both as another jolt to women’s rights as well as for triggering the suspension of activities in the country by many organizations.
This has further jeopardized humanitarian aid in a country where over 20 million people depend on it for survival.
United Nations’ Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed flagged the issue after a Kabul visit during which she met Taliban leaders and urged the regime to revoke the ban on women working in local and international nonprofits.
Afghanistan was already mired in a deep humanitarian and economic crisis before the Taliban’s ascent to power, but the international isolation and freezing of foreign aid after the Islamists seized power has worsened the situation for millions of people.
On top of the crisis, this year’s winters have been particularly cold in the country, where low temperatures regularly cause deaths due to lack of infrastructure and basic services as well as the makeshift nature of houses, consisting of just canvas tents in the case of the poorest.
The massive Hindu Kush mountain range covers large parts of Afghanistan, which registers extremely low temperatures in the winter. EFE