Region of Concern: Afghanistan
Written By Amy McGee; Edited by Jennifer Loy, Chief Editor
Date: January 19, 2023
Herat Province, Afghanistan
Event: On January 17, 140 people went to the hospital after carbon monoxide poisoning. In Herat Province, cold swept through, and without power, gas was the only way for residents to heat their homes. Residents have been turning to gas and coal since the Taliban took control, as the price of firewood and essential goods have been too high to purchase for areas that are too poor. Doctors have urged residents not to be negligent when using gas and coal to heat their homes.
Significance: Herat residents will likely continue to suffer from a lack of warmth during the winter months, which will lead to more dangerous living conditions. Due to the poor economy, it is likely residents have to turn to a more dangerous approach to keep themselves warm. Hospitals are likely to see a continued increase in patients and are likely to become overwhelmed by carbon dioxide poisoning victims. The Taliban will unlikely aid the women and children impacted by cold weather in the region due to Purdah. It is unlikely residents will seek help for their medical needs due to poverty in the region. Failure to seek medical attention will result in more extreme symptoms of confusion, dizziness, vomiting, and chest pain. Afghanistan will likely continue to experience international isolation.
Recommendations: Health officials should inform residents on how to adequately heat their homes through pamphlets and infographics. Global humanitarian organizations such as the International Red Cross, Red Crescent Movement, and the International Rescue Committee should provide residents with blankets, jackets, and firewood so people can heat their homes safely. International health organizations such as Doctors Without Borders should send doctors to Herat to help with the influx of patients during the winter months. Human rights groups should focus on supplying women and children with the tools to get through the winter months and in the future. Herat should focus on becoming a self-sustaining region by utilizing tools such as farming and agriculture to serve the residents and create a more stable economy. The Taliban should use its recourses to relocate residents to safer warmer environments.
“Area of Herat in 2009” by Marius Arnesen licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
140 hospitalized in Afghanistan's Herat for carbon monoxide poisoning: Report, Hindustan Times, January 2023, https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/140-hospitalized-in-afghanistan-s-herat-for-carbon-monoxide-poisoning-report-101674015122576.html
 Purdah, Kings College, January 2023, https://departments.kings.edu/womens_history/purdah.html