Heavy rains set off flash floods in northern Afghanistan, killing at least 60 people

 

ISLAMABAD: Flash floods from seasonal rains in Baghlan province in northern Afghanistan killed at least 60 people on Friday, officials said.
The floods also caused losses to homes and property in several districts, according to Edayatullah Hamdard, the provincial director of Natural Disaster Management in Baghlan. He said that the death toll was preliminary and that it “might rise as many people are missing.”
The flash floods also hit the capital, Kabul, said Abdullah Janan Saiq, the Taliban’s spokesman for the State Ministry for Natural Disaster Management. He said that rescue teams bringing food and other aid have been dispatched to the affected areas.
Saiq said that the rescue operation is the main focus of authorities at the moment, and that he later might be able to provide more precise figures on casualties and damage.

Emergency personnel were “searching for any possible victims under the mud and rubble, with the help of security forces from the national army and police,” Hamdard said earlier.
Dozens of tents, blankets and food were provided to those who lost their homes, he added.
Video footage seen on social media showed huge torrents of muddy water swamping roads and bodies shrouded in white and black cloth.
In one video clip, children are heard crying and a group of men are looking at floodwaters, in which bits of broken wood and debris from homes can be seen.
Since mid-April, flash flooding and other floods have left about 100 people dead in 10 of Afghanistan’s provinces, with no region entirely spared, according to authorities.
Farmland has been swamped in a country where 80 percent of the more than 40 million people depend on agriculture to survive.
Rains on Friday also caused heavy damages in northeastern Badakhshan province and central Ghor province, officials said.

Taliban government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said authorities would provide support to those impacted by the flooding across the country.
The government “expresses its deep sympathy with the families of dead and wounded, and instructs the ministry of natural disaster management, ministries of defense and interior, and provincial authorities to spare no resource in rescue efforts,” he said in a statement on X, formerly Twitter.
Mohammad Akram Akbari, the provincial director of natural disaster management in Badakhshan, said the mountainous province had seen “heavy financial losses in several areas… due to floods.”
He added that casualties were feared in Tishkan district, where flooding had blocked a road and cut off access to an area where some 20,000 people lived.
Afghanistan — which had a relatively dry winter, making it more difficult for the soil to absorb rainfall — is highly vulnerable to climate change.

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 damaged last month. Thousands of people require humanitarian assistance. The flooding also damaged agriculture land and 2,500 animals died in the deluges, according to Saiq.

The nation, ravaged by four decades of war, is one of the poorest in the world and, according to scientists, one of the worst prepared to face the consequences of global warming.
Afghanistan, which is responsible for only 0.06 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, ranks sixth on the list of countries most at risk from climate change, experts say.
Half of Afghanistan’s population lives under the poverty line, and 15 million people are experiencing food insecurity, according to the World Bank.
 

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