Flash floods kills 78; destroy thousands of homes

Written by The Frontier Post

KABUL (Agencies): At least 78 people have died in Afghanistan due to heavy rainfall and flash floods in the past week, the country’s National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) said. Thirty people have been wounded and another 32 are still missing, ANDMA spokesman Ahmad Tamim Azimi said.

The country’s disaster agency said earlier this week that the four days of heavy rainfall affected 17 provinces in the war-torn country. Nearly 2,600 residential houses have been destroyed, either partially or completely, and 3,600 animals have perished, Azimi added. In addition, transportation routes and more than 5,000 acres of agricultural land are destroyed.

The Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority’s Meteorological Department had warned of thunderstorms, heavy rain and flash flooding across large swaths of the country. A report from the US Famine Early Warning System Network said more than 3 inches of rain was possible in some areas.

The severe weather started on May 2, according to an update from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations. The agency said the province of Herat was the hardest hit. The government was handing out food and supplies and working to shore up roads. Key supply lines were blocked in some areas.

“We have sent heavy machinery to clean and open the closed roads and highways,” Azimi told the media. He said rescue teams were still searching for the missing on Saturday, despite diminishing hopes of finding survivors.

Summer floods are turning into a repeated hazard for Afghanistan. Last year, similar floods killed more than 150 people and displaced nearly 500 families in August. The country also witnessed severe flash floods in 2019 that destroyed more than 10,000 houses and affected nearly 2 lakh people, according to UN emergency aid office OCHA.

On Saturday, another tragedy struck in Afghanistan as an explosion took place near a school in Kabul and killed 33 people while injuring 55 others. Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry’s spokesman Tariq Arian, said that casualties—all of whom were civilians, most of them young girls—were likely to rise.

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