Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, October 20th, 2018

Winter Disaster on Its Way

The recent and first snowfall of the season has already caused troubles in northern provinces. Far-flung villages and valleys are blocked. Due to lack of communication and far-flung areas, these catastrophes go unreported in media. Concerned government authorities also do not bother precautions despite the fact that we face heavy snowfall in particular areas that cause deaths every year.

For instance, the villages of Balkhab district are disconnected with the provincial capital of Sari Pul for the last one week. Locals report two meters of snowfall. Transport is at standstill.

Farmers are worst victims as they cannot transport their fall production to markets. Prices of food commodities have already gone high, and if the road blockade was not cleared soon, there could be a crisis. Usually in such areas government have no machinery to reach and help people, therefore masses help themselves. But the heavy snow makes it impossible sometimes.

As usual, officials of Disaster Management make excuses about the so-called early-snowfall saying they did not expect it now!

Similarly, some districts of Maimana and Faryab are also blocked for past two weeks. Daily usage items such as flour and cooking oil prices have already gone double. Locals have urged authorities to immediately reach out to their villages and clear the roads; otherwise they could face severe food shortage.

When asked about the reports of blockades in far-flung villages of northern provinces, the Disaster Management Authority put the blame on Public Works Department for being responsible to clear the roads. It's usual of them to pass blames on each other and not take responsibility, but they are not bothered to the urgency of the issue.

Meanwhile, reports from Takhar and Samangan provinces say roads connecting more than 100 villages have been blocked, thus cutting the supply of commodities in those villages, where prices are skyrocketing. It has been non-stop snowing for days there, and locals cannot help themselves clearing out roads through their local resources. Vehicles are trapped on some of the heavily blocked roads.

A rescue team in Rustaq District of Takhar managed to save many lives by rescuing some trapped passenger vehicles. Locals have sought help from authorities there, but we have no reports of any intervention.

Natural disasters such as heavy snowfall cause hundreds of deaths every year in winter. The Natural Disaster Management Authority officials in Kabul should call an emergency rescue operation in Northern provinces where heavy snowfall has made life miserable for thousands of villagers.