Flash floods kill more than 300 people in Afghanistan after heavy rains, UN says – Hindustan Times

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May 11, 2024 05:04 PM IST

The Taliban defense ministry said in a statement Saturday that the country’s air force has already begun evacuating people in Baghlan.

Flash floods from unusually heavy seasonal rains in Afghanistan have killed more than 300 people and destroyed over 1,000 houses, the U.N. food agency said Saturday.

Afgan people gather along a road before a floaded area between Samangan and Mazar-i-Sharif following a flash flood after a heavy rainfall in Feroz Nakhchir district of Samangan Province on May 11, 2024. (AFP)
Afgan people gather along a road before a floaded area between Samangan and Mazar-i-Sharif following a flash flood after a heavy rainfall in Feroz Nakhchir district of Samangan Province on May 11, 2024. (AFP)

The World Food Program said it was distributing fortified biscuits to the survivors of one of the many floods that hit Afghanistan over the last few weeks, mostly the northern province of Baghlan, which bore the brunt of the deluges Friday.

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In neighbouring Takhar province, state-owned media outlets reported the floods killed at least 20 people.

Zabihullah Mujahid, the chief spokesman for the Taliban government, posted on the social media platform X that “hundreds … have succumbed to these calamitous floods, while a substantial number have sustained injuries.”

Mujahid identified the provinces of Badakhshan, Baghlan, Ghor and Herat as the worst hit. He added that “the extensive devastation” has resulted in “significant financial losses.”

People are seen near to their damaged homes after heavy flooding in Baghlan province in northern Afghanistan Saturday, May 11, 2024.(AP)
People are seen near to their damaged homes after heavy flooding in Baghlan province in northern Afghanistan Saturday, May 11, 2024.(AP)

He said the government had ordered all available resources mobilized to rescue people, transport the injured and recover the dead.

The Taliban Defense Ministry said in a statement Saturday that the country’s air force has already begun evacuating people in Baghlan and has rescued a large number of people stuck in flooded areas and transported 100 injured people to military hospitals in the region.

Richard Bennett, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, said on X that the floods are a stark reminder of Afghanistan’s vulnerability to the climate crisis and that both immediate aid and long-term planning by the Taliban and international actors are needed.

Videos posted on social media showed dozens of people gathered Saturday behind the hospital in Baghlan looking for their loved ones. An official tells them that they should go and start digging graves while their staff are busy with preparing bodies for the burial ceremony.

Officials previously said that in April at least 70 people died from heavy rains and flash flooding in the country. About 2,000 homes, three mosques, and four schools were also damaged.

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