CNN reports that a Taliban official said Tuesday January 24 that at least 157 people have died in Afghanistan’s harsh winter.

The death toll has reportedly doubled in less than a week as millions face bitter temperatures with minimal humanitarian aid.

The country is suffering one of its coldest winters, with temperatures plummeting to as low as -28ºC in early January – far below the nationwide average of between 0 and -5ºC for this time of year.

According to CNN, the impact has been made worse by the limited amount of humanitarian aid being distributed in the country, following the Taliban’s ban on female NGO workers.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said on Twitter Sunday it was delivering aid such as blankets, heating and shelter to some 565,700 people.

“But much more is needed amid one of the coldest spells in years,” it added.

Around 70,000 livestock have also frozen to death across the country, Shafiullah Rahimi, a spokesman for the Taliban’s Ministry of Disaster Management told CNN Tuesday.

TOLOnews says vulnerable families are mostly victims of extreme cold weather in Afghanistan.

TOLOnews reported on January 23 that the State Ministry for Disaster Management said on Sunday (January 22) that more than 100 people have died of exposure to severe cold weather and carbon monoxide poisoning over the past two weeks. 

The deaths have reportedly happened in 15 provinces.