By RFE/RL’s Radio Azadi
August 21, 2022
Heavy flooding from seasonal rains in eastern Afghanistan has killed at least 22 people and injured 80 others, swept away homes, and destroyed livestock and agricultural land, officials and villagers said August 21.
The worst affected area was the Khushi district of Logar Province, south of the Afghan capital of Kabul, but floods were also reported in Maidan Wardak, Ghazni, Nangarhar and Laghman provinces, officials in the Taliban-led government said, putting the provisional death toll at 22.
However, Abdullah Mufaker, head of Logar Province’s Natural Disaster Management Ministry, said it was still unknown how many people were killed in total.
“The exact number is not clear for the time being, and people have gone to remove the dead bodies,” he said.
The floods destroyed 3,000 homes, dozens of canals and about 5,000 acres of agricultural land, mainly orchards, Logar provincial governor’s office said in a statement, adding that 2,000 livestock were also killed.
Government spokesman Bilal Karimi, in a separate statement, urged the international community to provide aid.
“We urgently request the international community…to join hands with the Afghans at this critical time and [to] spare no effort to help the victims,” Karimi said.
The country’s meteorological department said more heavy rains and floods were expected across 21 provinces in the coming days.
Officials at the country’s National Disaster Management Authority said they have been using helicopters to try to rescue those trapped by the flooding and have set up an emergency camp.
Del Agha, a village elder, said the flooding was unprecedented in the history of Khushi. “It destroyed all the people’s animals, houses and agricultural lands,” he said. “People are homeless, they have [had to seek shelter in] the mountains.”
Last week, heavy rains triggered flash floods that killed at least 31 people and left dozens missing in northern Afghanistan.
Scores of Afghans die every year from floods and torrential downpours, particularly in impoverished rural areas where poorly built homes are often at risk of collapse.
Decades of conflict, coupled with environmental degradation and insufficient investment in disaster risk reduction have contributed to the increasing vulnerability of Afghans to natural disasters, according to the United Nations.
With reporting by AP, AFP and dpa