Following the cold front that has hit the western and northwestern regions in Tunisia, now covered in white layers of snow, various relief efforts are taking place in order to support citizens in need.
Heavy snowfall and low temperatures have caused significant difficulties for the inhabitants of the governorate of Kef and Thala, a town in the governorate of Kasserine.
“Mt. Chaâmbi is all covered with snow. It has been freezing since Sunday,” said Basma Mokademi, a resident of Kasserine.
Nour Al Houda from Thala stated that due to the snow, power went out since 6:30am on Sunday, and that it was only until 2:00pm that power was restored. “Snow has been falling for a consecutive 16 hours on January 29th. A team from the electricity company (STEG) took care of the situation though. Electricity was back by the afternoon.”
Al Houda, who is involved with the Thala Solidaire [Thala Solidarity] association, confirmed that there was also a gas shortage since the only gas provider in town did not receive any refills until Tuesday.
The snow level reached over 30 centimeters. “We are well used to the snow and hard climate conditions. We are trying to provide help needed as well – but that is not the point. This is a call for the government to introduce more radical solutions. We want regional development and jobs so that we can afford such living necessities,” added Nour Al Houda.
Most of Thala’s inhabitants lack basic needs such as heating, especially those isolated by the snow in rural areas due to blocked roads. Slim Briki, secretary general of “Thala Solidaire,” confirmed that there are several other associations, such as El Kolna Twensa and Le PaCTE Tunisien, helping them collect material donations for Thala inhabitants who are in need.
“We started our call for help on our Facebook page. Since then, volunteers have been contacting me non-stop. We collected covers, food, medicine, and clothes. The amount of help received is impressive. We will be heading to Thala on Sunday, February 5th, and go by Kef as well, which has also been detrimentally impacted by the snow,” said Briki.
Abdel Razzek, who is also from Thala, mentioned that the national meteorological center should provide more accurate weather forecasts so that inhabitants can adequately prepare. “They said that the temperature would be going up again; however, it is only 11:00am now and it is 0° Celsius. They said that snow fall reached 13 centimeters. But it is between 35 and 40 cm!”
Thala Solidaire is an association that was founded in May 2011 and is composed of 19 members who are originally from Thala, living in either Thala or Tunis.