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Afghanistan: Floods kill 311 people in one province alone, WFP says

More than 300 people have died in flash floods in Afghanistan's northern province of Baghlan, the government said. Saturday a UN agency à the AFP, while a state of emergency was declared. throughout the northeast of the country.

“We can confirm, based on available information, that 311 people were killed in Baghlan province,” said Rana Deraz, a spokesperson for the World Food Program (WFP). At least “2,011 houses were destroyed and 2,800 damaged,” she added.

Rescue efforts were underway on Saturday in Baghlan, where the International Organization for Migration (IOM), another UN agency, had previously announced to AFP a provisional death toll of 200.

“The IOM is limiting itself to 200 deaths for the moment”, indicated a spokesperson for the agency, while numerous contradictory reports have been circulating since, on Friday, rivers of mud suddenly engulfed thousands of homes and hectares of crops.

The Ministry of Defense announced that a state of emergency had been declared in the vast regions of the northeast affected by serious flooding.

The Taliban authorities, for their part, report “131 dead and more than a hundred injured”.< /p>

“Many people are missing,” Interior Ministry spokesperson Abdul Mateen Qani told AFP, without providing a figure.< /p>

Survivors were trying to walk through streets covered in mud and laden with debris, noted an AFP photographer in Laqayi.

Residents carried remains before their burial and a vehicle brought food and water to the residents of this locality in the Baghlan-i-Markazi district.

– “Where to take my family? ” –

Some were trying to clear houses whose exterior walls were covered in mud almost to the roof.

The heavy toll is explained in particular by the fact that “people tend to live near waterways”, explained to AFP Mohammad Khater, vice-director of OCHA, the humanitarian affairs office of the UN.

Floods in this abnormally rainy spring affected other provinces of Afghanistan, one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change in the world but also one of the most poorly prepared for its consequences according to scientists.

The government spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid, spoke on X of victims and floods in Baghlan but also in the provinces of Badakhshan (north-east), Ghor ( center-west) and Herat (west).

The Ministry of Defense indicated on Saturday that “the distribution operations of food, medicines and first aid kits to victims had started”.

“The air force began to evacuate residents thanks to the improvement in the weather” and transferred more around a hundred injured in hospitals, he added.

Afghanistan: Floods kill 311 people in one province alone, WFP says

A man carries his belongings on May 11, 2024 in Laqiha, a village in northeastern Afghanistan devastated by flash floods © AFP – –

Jan Mohammad Din Mohammad, a resident of Pol-e Khomri, capital of Baghlan, explained to AFP that the house he had built with his own hands had been completely destroyed.

“I was called to say my house was flooded,” said the 45-year-old man. “By the time I got there, there was nothing I could do.” “I saw my family running towards the hills. My house and my whole life were taken away. It was unimaginable.”

He reported three deaths , including two children aged eight and 16, in his neighborhood where people “suffered a lot”. “I don’t know where to take my family,” he added of his wife, their six children, his mother and his disabled sister.

– “Gigantic financial losses” –

In addition, disaster management authorities in Takhar province, neighboring Baghlan, reported 20 dead and 14 injured on Friday .

“In addition to the human losses, these floods caused gigantic financial losses,” an official from this department told AFP.

The UN special rapporteur for human rights in Afghanistan, Richard Bennett, estimated on X that these floods “were a clear sign of Afghanistan's vulnerability to the crisis climate”.

European Union spokesperson Nabila Massrali said she was “shocked” at the loss of “hundreds of lives”.

Since mid-April, flash floods and floods have already caused around a hundred deaths in ten provinces of the country and no region has been spared.< /p>

They also destroyed hundreds of homes and submerged much agricultural land in a country where 80% of the more than 40 million Afghans depend on agriculture for their survival.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116