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Afghanistan: a brutally cold winter

It had just stopped snowing when we arrived at 1 of 45 informal settlements around Kabul. The temporary shelters were covered under a thick blanket of snow.

I stood shivering in the bitter cold, but undeterred by the weather condition, children were still having snow fights outside.

One of them, a boy no older than 12, was wearing a pair of slippers without socks, leaving a layer of snow directly on his feet.

Freezing conditions

This is typical for many of the 35,000 people who are trying to survive the coldest winter in Afghanistan in over 15 years.

Families here have had to deal with temperatures plunging to as low as -17C at night.

Many families here have fled the war, arriving from Kabul Province, Laghman, Helmand, Parwan, Nangarhar and Kandahar. Some are economic refugees who came in search of work, while others are nomads who are frequently on the move.

But the conditions in this camp where they have settled in are squalid with one shared bathroom for the camp, a single water pump situated twenty minutes away, and no schools for children to attend.

A well-oiled machine

Save the Children’s team in Afghanistan has been distributing essential aid for eight days now and have become a well-oiled machine.

I admire their efforts – they have braved the intense cold and even staff members from HR and Admin are volunteering to help out in the camps every day.

To date, we have distributed tarpaulins, blankets, hygiene kits, clothes and children’s shoes to almost 20,000 people.

Written by Michel Rooijackers, Save the Children, Kabul

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