Flash floods kill at least 300 in Afghanistan after heavy seasonal rains | World News

At least 300 people have been killed in flash floods in northern Afghanistan, according to the UN food agency.

Heavy seasonal rains have also destroyed more than a thousand houses leaving many without shelter in the provinces of Baghlan, Takhar and Badakhshan.

Transport links and water supplies have been “severely disrupted”, while helicopters have been sent to assist the rescue effort and evacuate casualties.

Many have been left homeless by the floods. Pic: AP

The World Food Programme, which operates throughout Afghanistan, estimates the floods have killed more than 300 people.

Zabihullah Mujahid, chief spokesman for the Taliban government, said “hundreds… have succumbed to these calamitous floods, while a substantial number have sustained injuries”.

Pic: Reuters
Pic: Reuters

He singled out the provinces of Badakhshan, Baghlan, Ghor and Herat as the worst hit, adding the “extensive devastation” has resulted in “significant financial losses”.

Videos on social media show dozens of people gathered behind the hospital in Baghlan looking for loved ones, as an official tells them they should start digging graves while staff prepare the bodies.

In the village of Karkar in Baghlan, residents held funerals for people who had been killed by the floods.

“I lost five members of my family – two sons, two daughters, and their mother in a result of this devastating flash flood,” said Gulbudeen, a mourner who gave only one name.

“We were standing on the other side of the flood, but we could not help them, and eventually the flood took the lives of our loved ones.”

An Afghan man walks near his damaged home after heavy flooding in Baghlan province in northern Afghanistan Saturday, May 11, 2024. Flash floods from seasonal rains in Baghlan province in northern Afghanistan killed dozens of people on Friday, a Taliban official said. (AP Photo/Mehrab Ibrahimi)
Pic: AP

The World Health Organization’s Afghanistan office said: “The impact has been profound, leading to loss of life and injuries, with many individuals still unaccounted for.”

The floods hit as the country is still reeling from earthquakes at the beginning of the year as well as severe flooding in March, said Salma Ben Aissa, Afghanistan director for the International Rescue Committee.

“Communities have lost entire families, while livelihoods have been decimated as a result,” she said.

“This should sound an alarm bell for world leaders and international donors: we call upon them to not forget Afghanistan during these turbulent global times.”

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The agency added that four health centres had been damaged and one destroyed by the floods and health teams were being sent to affected areas.

At least 70 people died from heavy rains and flash flooding in April in the country, officials said.

About 2,000 homes, three mosques and four schools were also damaged.

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