Over 200 killed as heavy rains set off flash floods in Afghanistan

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Over 200 killed as heavy rains set off flash floods in Afghanistan

The United Nations said on Saturday that flash floods that tore across several Afghan districts claimed the lives of over 200 people. Authorities immediately proclaimed a state of emergency and sprang into action to save those who were hurt. In numerous regions, particularly northern Baghlan, strong rains on Friday caused raging floods of water and dirt to crash through villages and across agricultural land. According to the UN's International Organization for Migration, hundreds of dwellings were damaged or destroyed and over 200 individuals lost their lives in Baghlan alone.

According to Mohammad Fahim Safie, the National Programme Officer in charge of IOM's emergency response, "more than 100 people died" and up to 1,500 dwellings were damaged or destroyed in one district, Baghlani Jadid, using official statistics. As on Friday night, according to Taliban government officials, 62 people have perished.

In a statement uploaded to X on Saturday, government spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid stated, "Hundreds of our fellow citizens have succumbed to these calamitous floods." He told AFP that there had been dozens of deaths, but he did not break out the number of dead and injured.

According to officials, Friday's rains also severely damaged western Herat, central Ghor province, and northeastern Badakhshan province. The defense ministry reported that emergency responders were racing to save the wounded and trapped. Head of the department in charge of managing natural disasters in the northern Takhar province, Ahmad Seyar Sajid estimated that 20 people had died in the flooding. "In addition to human casualties, these floods have also caused huge financial losses to the people," Sajid said.

State of emergency

The ministry of defense directed various branches to use all resources at their disposal to offer the victims of this catastrophe any form of support. As the weather cleared on Saturday, the air force announced that it had begun evacuation operations and that over a hundred injured individuals had been transported to hospitals; however, it did not indicate which regions these individuals were from. According to the Ministry of National Defense, food, medication, and first aid have begun to be distributed to those affected by the declaration of a state of emergency in the affected districts.

Social media users shared video footage from Friday that showed muddy floods saturating roadways and people covered in black and white cloth. In one video, splintered wood pieces and house rubble can be seen in the floodwaters while a group of guys are seen staring at the weeping youngsters.According to authorities, since mid-April, flash flooding and other disasters have killed over 100 people in ten provinces across Afghanistan, leaving no area completely unaffected.

In a nation where 80 percent of the more than 40 million people rely on agriculture for their subsistence, farmland has become overpopulated. Afghanistan is extremely vulnerable to climate change because of its unusually dry winter, which made it harder for the soil to absorb rainfall. The country is among the poorest in the world and, scientists claim, among the least equipped to deal with the effects of climate change due to the devastation caused by four decades of conflict.