Thursday 23 November 2017

Death toll rises in Afghan floods

Afghans look for belongings in their house damaged after flooding in the northeastern Baghlan province (AP)
Afghans look for belongings in their house damaged after flooding in the northeastern Baghlan province (AP)
Afghan police and villagers carry bodies of people after flooding in the northeastern Baghlan province (AP)

More than 80 bodies have been found two days after a devastating flash flood in Afghanistan as police and villagers scoured the rugged terrain for missing people.

Lieutenant Fazel Rahman, the police chief in the Guzirga i-Nur district of Baghlan province, said the death toll from Friday's flash flooding had climbed to 81 from 54. He said 850 houses across several villages were destroyed and more than 1,000 were damaged by the heavy rain and flooding, leaving thousands of people in need of shelter, food, water and medicine.

Defence Ministry spokesman General Mohammad Zahir Azimi said Army helicopters were assisting in relief efforts in the remote district, which is 85 miles north of the provincial capital Puli Khumri, but is an eight to nine hour journey by land because of the rugged terrain.

Gen Rahman said local authorities had received around 100 tents, several hundred blankets and some food, but that more supplies were needed.

Afghans living in the northern mountains have largely been spared from the country's decades of war, but are no strangers to natural disasters.

Last month, a landslide triggered by heavy rain buried large sections of a remote village in the north-eastern Badakhshan province bordering China, displacing some 700 families. Authorities have yet to provide an exact figure on the number of dead from the May 2 landslide, and estimates have ranged from 250 to 2,700. Officials said it was impossible to dig up all the bodies.

A landslide in Baghlan province in 2012 killed 71 people. After days of digging unearthed only five bodies, authorities gave up on the recovery effort and turned the area into a memorial.

Press Association

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