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Snowfall, benefits and problems

Kabul residents enjoy this week as the second snowflakes were coming down. Residents were happy to see the city, everywhere white, blanketed by snowfall of the year. However, parts of the country are struggling with heavy snowfall as thousands of people are being reported in trouble and major highways were closed. Recently the Salang highway—passes through treacherous mountains in Baghlan and Parwan provinces, linking the capital Kabul with northern provinces, was closed twice for light and heavy traffic. Lt. Gen. Mohammad Rajab, the highway maintenance commander on Tuesday announced reopening of the tunnel. With good fortune, human loses have not yet reported. However, the worst consequences of heavy snowfall could not be under estimated in coming weeks. Minimizing human and financial losses of heavy snowfall, triggering avalanches, destroying buildings and leaving many trapped in their snowbound homes, the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) has to put all efforts on card and take preventive measures in advance. The ANDMA authorities should go through their responsibilities by identifying and setting strategic measures for disaster reduction and plans for reconstruction, declaration of state of disaster, development of national policies, management of funds for relief purposes, mobilization of the government and national and international donors to provide required machinery to the ANDMA and assistance to affected families. Heavy machinery should be deployed to major highways to clear roads of snowfall and minimize miseries of our people travelling from one place to another. Citizens in remote mountainous areas should be provided with food items and tents and shift them to safe areas for a specific time. Online help center, medical teams and emergency response cell, comprising all relevant institutions needs to be operational and regional departments of the ANDMA should be activated to reach and report the disaster on time. The emergency cell should be supported by the country’s security forces and air force. Helicopters need to be used for supplying of relief items and rescuing snowbound families across the country. Good management and effective leadership is the way forward to rescue our people and turn the challenges into opportunities.

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