Afghanistan's coldest winter kills over 900

KABUL Sat Feb 16, 2008 2:31am EST

An Afghan girl stands outside her shelter at a refugee camp in Kabul February 14, 2008. The death toll from Afghanistan's harshest winter in recent living memory has hit 926, an official said on Saturday, adding the figure could rise further as access to remote areas improves with the thawing of snow. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

An Afghan girl stands outside her shelter at a refugee camp in Kabul February 14, 2008. The death toll from Afghanistan's harshest winter in recent living memory has hit 926, an official said on Saturday, adding the figure could rise further as access to remote areas improves with the thawing of snow.

Credit: Reuters/Omar Sobhani

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KABUL (Reuters) - The death toll from Afghanistan's harshest winter in recent living memory has hit 926, an official said on Saturday, adding the figure could rise further as access to remote areas improves with the thawing of snow.

More than 316,000 cattle had perished since the onset of winter in mid December, Noor Padshah Kohistani of the National Disaster Management Commission said.

"The figure for human losses stands at 926 today. It could go higher, for roads have been reopened and we will find unreported fatalities," he said.

Nearly half of the victims came from western areas and where more than 90 people have had their fingers or toes amputated because of frostbite.

A special hospital is dealing with frostbite victims in the western city of Herat.

Apart from human losses, the deaths of cattle are regarded as a huge loss for Afghanistan, an agricultural country that largely relies on foreign aid.

The United Nations World Food Program last month appealed for extra food assistance for 2.55 million Afghans until the next harvest in June.

More snow is expected in coming days in several parts of the mountainous Central Asian country which may trigger floods and avalanches.

(Reporting by Sayed Salahuddin; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

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