At least 104 people have died in recent days across 15 provinces of Afghanistan due to cold weather, carbon monoxide poisoning, and disease, according to the Taliban’s ministry for disaster management.
Around 20 of the deaths have been in the Pamir area of Badakhshan’s Wakhan district due to a pneumonia-like respiratory disease, ministry director Mawlawi Abdul Rahman Zahid told Rukhshana Media on Sunday.
The deaths have also occurred across Takhar, Nimroz, Ghazni, Kandahar, Laghman, Uruzgan, Jawzjan, Sar-e-Pul, Faryab, Paktika, Balkh, Samangan, Bamyan and Herat provinces.
Mawlawi Zahid did not specify how many of the dead are women and children, but he said the health team has been dispatched to the areas with reports of the respiratory disease, with the help of the Aga Khan Foundation, and they are trying to prevent the further spread.
At least 194 people are being treated for the disease in Badakhshan, he added.
He said that 50 homes have been destroyed in the past 10 days due to floods and freezing weather, with an estimated 70,000 in livestock also dying or being lost in the extreme conditions.
Many relief organizations suspended their activities in these provinces to protest the Taliban’s 24 December order barring Afghan women from working in local and foreign NGOs.
Three of the major foreign aid groups – Save the Children, CARE International, and the International Rescue Committee – restarted some health-related work this week after assurances from the ministry of public health that women could safely return to health-related aid jobs. But negotiations are ongoing for the 24 December order to be lifted completely so all aid activities can resume.