Saturday, May 25, 2024

UN says hundreds killed by flash floods in Afghanistan

Flash floods from heavy seasonal rains in Afghanistan have claimed the lives of more than 300 people and destroyed over 1,000 houses, the United Nations food agency reported Saturday.

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.

In neighboring 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”.

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

The Taliban Defense Ministry announced 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, U.N. special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, wrote on X that the floods are a stark reminder of Afghanistan’s vulnerability to the climate crisis and both immediate aid and long-term planning by the Taliban and international actors are needed.

Videos and photos posted on social media showed dozens of people gathered Saturday behind the hospital in Baghlan looking for their loved ones.

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