This year’s winter has been particularly harsh on displaced families in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
While in some parts of Afghanistan snow has brought welcome benefits after years of drought, other provinces, including the capital, Kabul, have faced major disruptions. The heavy snow brought traffic to a standstill. The Salang Pass, a major pass through the Hindu Kush mountains that connects Kabul to the north of the country, was blocked for days. In northern Badakhshan province, avalanches killed dozens of people in areas where aid could not reach swiftly due to heavy snowfall.
At least 22 children have reportedly died in refugee camps in the outskirts of Kabul in the past month alone. Most of these families have been displaced by fighting in areas such as Kandahar and Helmand in southern Afghanistan.
In some of the mountainous regions of Pakistan, between 1 and 1.5 metres of snow were reported. The snow caused power cuts and many businesses were forced to close, as people struggled to deal with the cold weather.
Most vulnerable to snow and cold winter have been families displaced by devastating floods of the past couple years, particularly in southern Sindh province.