At least 50 killed in Afghanistan flash flooding

At least 50 killed in Afghanistan flash flooding
# 11 May 2024 04:32 (UTC +04:00)

At least 50 people have died and more than 100 have been injured after flash flooding in northern Afghanistan, according to Taliban officials, APA reports.

Heavy rainfall has affected five districts in Baghlan province, a spokesman said, warning that two further storms were forecast for Friday night.

Pictures on social media showed torrents of water sweeping through houses in several villages, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.

The country has been hit by unusually heavy rainfall over the last few weeks, with floods killing about 100 people since mid-April.

Abdul Mateen Qaniee, a spokesman for Afghanistan's Ministry of the Interior, said more than 150 people were trapped and in need of urgent help.

He told Reuters news agency that helicopters had been sent to Baghlan province - located directly north of the capital, Kabul - but "the operation may not be successful" due to a shortage of night vision lights.

Meanwhile, local official Hedayatullah Hamdard told AFP news agency emergency personnel including the army were "searching for any possible victims under the mud and rubble".

Tents, blankets and food were provided to some families who had lost their homes, the official added.

It comes after flooding last month in the west of the country killed dozens of people, leaving thousands requiring humanitarian aid.

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

Flash flooding happens when rain falls so heavily that normal drainage cannot cope.

Experts say a relatively dry winter has made it more difficult for the soil to absorb rainfall.

Torrential rain and flooding kill people every year in Afghanistan, where badly built houses in isolated rural areas are particularly vulnerable.

Afghanistan is among the globe's most at risk nations from the effects of climate change, according to experts.

The nation is one of the poorest in the world, having been ravaged by decades of war which culminated in the withdrawal of a US-led coalition and the Taliban retaking control in 2021.

Many factors contribute to flooding, but a warming atmosphere caused by climate change makes extreme rainfall more likely.

The world has already warmed by about 1.1C since the industrial era began and temperatures will keep rising unless governments around the world make steep cuts to emissions.

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