As many as 32 people and more than 6,668 livestock have died due to extreme cold in Nimroz province of Afghanistan, local officials confirmed.
Salim Sadat, a resident of the provincial capital Zaranj city, told Amu TV that the “unprecedented” cold weather has left high casualties across Afghanistan.
Salim, who is a breadwinner of his six-member family, raised concerns about the lack of facilities to heat his home.
“My economic situation is very bad. I have a son who works in Iran and sends us 3 million tomans (around $80) every month, and we [barely] manage to pay our living costs,” he said.
According to him, freezing temperatures have inflicted heavy losses on the people of Afghanistan because the economic situation has deteriorated since the Taliban takeover in August 2021 and many have been forced to migrate abroad for work.
“Difficult and dangerous winter, hunger, unemployment, increase in food and fuel prices, have turned the life of Afghan people into hell,” Salim said.
Salim said that one of his sons is addicted to drugs and that he left and left home and he has no idea if “my son Haider is alive or dead. I haven’t heard from him for a while. Neighbors told [me] that every night some addicts die on the roads due to the cold.”
Salim added that he cannot afford to pay 2,000 Afghanis ($22y.5) for rent, and he has no means to buy fuel to heat his home.
Sediq Khawaja, a civil activist, said: “Every year during the cold days, addicts die; Because they don’t have shelter and they sleep on the roads and among the ruins.”
Nuruddin Hamza, the Taliban’s designated mayor of Zaranj city, told Amu TV that 32 addicts have died due to cold in the last five days in Zaranj city.
“The Zaranj municipality has collected 32 bodies from the city during the last five days while the weather was very cold, which shows the highest number of casualties in the country,” he said.
Hamza added Taliban security forces have been collecting addicts from across the city to “provide them with shelter and we distribute food to 1,500 vulnerable and addicted people every night with the help of businessmen.”
Abdul Khaliq Hakimullah, head of the Taliban’s agriculture and livestock directorate in Nimroz, said that as a result of the cold weather and snowstorms in the last week around 6,668 cattle, including cows; camels; sheep, and goats, have died in the province.
Hakimullah stated that they were trying to provide assistance to those who lost cattle during this winter. He noted that “fortunately, the cold weather did not damage the agricultural lands.”
Marzia Karimi, another resident of the province, has also raised concerns over the increase in fuel and clean water prices amid the cold winter. She said: “The price of gas has increased by 10 percent and the price of water surged by 20 percent.”
“People faced a lack of drinking water for the past four days in the city of Zaranj. Previously, a 20-liter barrel of water was sold for 10 Afghanis; But now it is being sold for 50 Afghanis. In this situation, the government should address issues of people so that they do not die of hunger,” Karimi added.
Zaranj mayor, however, stated that they have assigned employees in order to control the prices in the markets.