Afghanistan: Heavy Snowfall and Avalanches - Information Bulletin n° 1

This bulletin is being issued for information only, and reflects the current situation and details available at this time. The Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS), with the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), has analysed that DREF Operation will be launched soon.

The Situation

Heavy snowfall and a large number of avalanche were reported in different parts of Afghanistan between 4-7 February 2017. Around 22 out of 34 provinces reported to have been affected. Provinces with casualties and significant damage to homes and livelihoods included Badakhshan, Balkh,
Faryab, Samangan, Saripul, Herat, Badghis, Nangarhar, Paktia, Khost, Helmand, Kandahar, Bamiyan,
Daykundi, Parwan and Kapisa. In one incident of avalanche in Afsay Village, Barg-e-Matal District (Nuristan Province) claimed at least 57 lives with at least 33 injured.

Many areas of the country are still inaccessible due to heavy snowfall, making it difficult to obtain a full picture of the impact of the disasters and total number of affected families. However as per initial report of Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) around 2,617 families (15,702 individuals) have been affected.

It is estimated that up to three meters of snow have fallen in different parts of Afghanistan and 17 avalanches were reported within a span of three nights. Initial assessments indicate that limited food supplies in local markets have caused an inflation in prices. Worse yet, the continued wind storms and frozen ground have made it a challenge for affected communities to erect tents and build temporary shelters.