Afghan floods leave 50 dead

Sunday, 19 May 2024

KABUL, May 18 (AFP): Flash flooding has killed at least 50 people in western Afghanistan, provincial police said Saturday, with some reaching safety on higher ground mere minutes before the water hit.
The floods on Friday also destroyed about 2,000 houses, and damaged thousands more homes and businesses, Ghor police spokesman Abdul Rahman Badri said in a statement.
The fresh flooding in the country -- which has experienced above-average rainfall this spring -- comes after flash floods on May 10 in northern Baghlan province washed away hundreds. Survivors there were still searching for missing relatives days after the disaster.
"Fifty residents of Ghor province were killed by the floods on Friday and a number of others are missing," Badri said.
"These terrible floods have also killed thousands of cattle... They have destroyed hundreds of hectares of agricultural land, hundreds of bridges and culverts, and destroyed thousands of trees."
A resident of Firozkoh district in Ghor told AFP he and his family raced to higher ground when they were alerted by the sound of aerial firing and urgent warnings over mosque loudspeakers of oncoming flash floods.
"Within five minutes of our escape, a huge and horrible flash flood came and washed away everything. I watched the flood destroy my house with my own eyes," Zahir Zahid told AFP over the phone. "Women and children, everyone was crying," he said.
"In our area, around a hundred houses have been washed away by the flood, nothing is left, the flood has taken everything away."
Obaidullah Muradian, the head of the province's disaster management department, said it was an "emergency situation".
The floods hit several districts in the province, including the capital Chaghcharan, where the streets "are full of mud", he said, adding that victims were in need of shelter, food and water.
"The situation is really concerning."