Hundreds die in Afghan cold

Aghanistan's lowest recorded temperatures cause amputations and deaths.

    Many people have had fingers, toes or limbs amputated because of frostbite [EPA]
    Many of those affected are shepherds left stranded after a blizzard left the western province covered in snow.
    Surrounded by snow
    "All of my animals died. Both my legs were amputated," Ghulam Rasul, 35, said from his hospital bed.
    In video

    A deadly winter in Afghanistan

    "I was in the snow for two nights, then someone came and rescued me and took me home."
    Ahmad Sadiq, 18, whose uncle died in the storm, said: "I was surrounded by snow for two days, and I couldn't find my way back."
    One of his feet was amputated, and the doctors decided that the other will have to go, too.
    "I don't want to live like this. I can't walk anymore. It's better to die than to live like this."
    Some of those injured are said to be too poor to reach medical assistance and a rise in temperatures over the past few days has not allayed fears of more patients arriving.
    In Herat, about 40 people were hospitalised on Saturday due to the weather, most needing amputations.

    Temperatures have dropped to minus 30 degrees Celsius during the period.
    "I don't want to live like this.
    I can't walk anymore.
    It's better to die than to live like this"

    Ahmad Sadiq

    Supplies have also been running short as roads are blocked by heavy snowfall, causing fuel and food prices to rise.
    Aid groups and foreign troops have distributed blankets, clothing, food and fuel across the country, including remote, mountainous villages.
    In January, the World Food Programme appealed for additional food assistance for 2.55 million Afghans until the harvest next June.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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