Afghanistan: Avalanches severely hamper aid delivery

19 January, 2012
Heavy snow and avalanches often inflict human loss and property damages in winter in Afghanistan. Credit: IRIN/Masoud Popalzai
Heavy snow and avalanches often inflict human loss and property damages in winter in Afghanistan. Credit: IRIN/Masoud Popalzai

Heavy snow and avalanches in Afghanistan’s remote and mountainous province of Badakhshan are severely hampering efforts to help hundreds of thousands of people affected by disasters in the north-east of the country.

OCHA has dispatched two of its staff to the region where they are in close contact with the Provincial Disaster Management Committee (PDMC) and aid agencies. Efforts are underway to assess the extent of the damage and mobilize rescue teams.

The disaster has hit an area already struggling to cope with food insecurity.

This year, the UN is appealing for more than US$437 million to help millions of Afghans, including 70,000 people displaced by disasters such as drought, flash floods and other extreme weather.

Limited snow and rainfall last winter had led to drought in 14 Afghan provinces, including Badakhshan, leaving as many as 2.8 million people in need of aid.  

The latest disaster has cut off access to affected areas, making it hard for rescue teams to reach villages and people in need. So far, 29 people are reportedly dead and 40 others are injured. 

The numbers are expected to increase as aid workers and the PDMC conduct assessment and rescue efforts.

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