Drought-affected Afghans welcome first winter snowfall

KABUL (Xinhua) – Hundreds of overjoyed Kabul residents poured to the streets last Saturday to welcome and celebrate the first winter snowfall in the Afghan capital after long-lasting droughts in the war-battered country.

Afghans believed that concerns about drought, water shortage and fatal air pollution would somehow be eased as they were joyfully watching the snow, with the capital’s nearby hills and mountains covered with white snow blanket.

Kabul residents seemed to worry less about the future of their country because of this snowfall and more snowfalls in the coming months, which is expected to end the drought and lead to higher groundwater level.

“Continued snowfall causes ground water increase and help us grow various crops. In the past, people faced harsh problems regarding water shortage in the country,” Rahimullah, a resident of Kabul’s Qargha locality who seemed extremely happy with the natural blessing, told Xinhua.

Apart from Kabul, other provinces also witnessed promising snowfall in the last few days.

Some poor households struggled to heat up their rooms as the snowfalls further brought down the temperature.

Photo taken last Saturday shows the snow scenery in Kabul. – PHOTOS: XINHUA
People play in snow ground during the first snowfall in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan last Saturday
A man clears up snow in front of his shop after the first snowfall in Kabul

Harsh winter and possible heavy snowfalls will affect thousands of displaced families, who mostly migrated to the capital from conflict-affected areas and live in tents in the freezing weather.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Afghan social media users took pictures from various snow-covered landscapes and posted them on social media pages to share their joy and happiness.

The daytime air pollution mixed with fog has recently increased in the capital city, triggering various diseases among the residents, particularly children. The long-awaited snowfall was expected to reduce air pollution in the densely populated city.

Earlier, the Afghanistan Environmental Protection Authority warned that the growing air pollution would lead to a catastrophe unless the government takes measures to deal with it.

In addition to the endemic insurgency and insecurity, hundreds of thousands of people have left their houses due to water shortage as many of their livestock have perished mostly in the countryside.

“Snowfall is the source of water and water is the source of life. Therefore we celebrate the first snowfall of the winter as a good omen to see the drought end in Afghanistan,” Kabul resident Kamaludin said.