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Editorial: Winter disaster

Afghanistan is witnessing heavy snowfalls this year in many areas after a few years that people were almost facing drought because of dry winters. Actually, a snowy winter is a good time and good news for people especially in the rural areas where most of villagers are busy in agriculture and livestock breeding. The snow is considered as a life resource for Afghanistan as a landlocked country.

But in some times, the winter could be a disaster for Afghans too. Heavy snowfalls followed by huge avalanches cause the blockage of roads to remote areas, collapse of houses that has deadly results and also the displacement of thousands.

Avalanches left tens of passengers dead five years ago as avalanches swept the buses and other vehicles along the highway Salang Pass. In 2015, more than a hundred people died after strong avalanche targeted their houses in Bamyan, Daikondi and Panjshir provinces.

Just in the last week, scores of people were trapped in different districts of Badakhshan, Takhar, Bamyan, Daikondi, Sar-e-Pul, Ghazni and Ghor provinces because heavy snowfalls blocked the roads to the provincial capitals.

According to media reports, more than 90 people have lost their lives and tens of others have been injured due to heavy snowfalls and avalanches in the past three days mostly in the central and northeastern provinces.

While the people are the frequent target of terrorist attacks, the natural disasters are other elements claiming their lives or forcing them to quit their houses and other properties.

Freezing weather leads the jump of fuel and other winter essentials while the people’s poor economic situation cannot overcome this problem.

The government that is the only source people are looking to solve social problems, has done less its duties. It is expected to take prevention measures of the public tragedies.

The state ministry for disaster management and ministry of public works should not take winter problems easy. They are said that have enough possibilities to tackle the winter and other natural disasters.

It should work hard to immediately re-open the roads between villages and districts and the provincial capitals to prevent further human tragedy.

The Salang Pass that is called an economic lifeline connecting Kabul to nine provinces in the north should be reopened. Hard work is the need of the hour to reopen the highway.

Temporary shelters should be established with every basic need in the affected areas and along the highways in order the displaced people be saved.

The municipalities are responsible to control the prices of fuel and do not allow opportunist sellers to increase prices in hard times.

Awareness programs should be held so people in the areas with the danger of natural disaster can get prepared for disaster. The lack of such programs caused the death of hundreds of people when a mudslide covered the Aab-e-Barik village in Badakhshan three years ago.

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