Heavy snowfalls have closed roads in nine districts of Badakhshan province – shutting off access to the provincial capital of Faizabad for the past few days, local officials said on Tuesday.
The deputy head of Badakhshan provincial council, Ziauddin Wasiq, said roads have been closed for days and people living in remote areas are stranded.
The roads in this northern province are largely dirt tracks which in winter turn into mud tracks that end up being completely snowed over.
“The roads are snowed in every winter due to government’s inattention. We will face a crisis if government does not do something about it,” he said, referring to the fact that there is no assistance to clear roads of the snow.
“Government will not be able to reopen the roads as they are closed now. Badakhshan residents always face a shortage of food and other facilities due to road closures in winters,” said Sayed Omar Bahir, a civil society activist in Badakhshan.
Meanwhile, local officials said at least 23 avalanches have occurred so far in the districts but that there have been no casualties.
“It is usual. The roads are closed every year. We are prepared. At least 23 avalanches occurred in the nine districts this year, but there were no casualties,” said Hamayun Dihqan, head of Natural Disasters Management Authority in Badakhshan.
Badakhshan governor Gul Mohammad Bedar meanwhile said they will continue to address the residents’ challenges.
“We have (supplies) stored in the districts,” he added.