18 May 2024

Fifty dead in heavy rain, floods in central Afghanistan, official says

9:10 pm on 18 May 2024
Afghan men clear debris and mud from a damaged house following a flash flood after a heavy rainfall in Laqiha village of Baghlan-i-Markazi district in Baghlan province on May 11, 2024. At least 62 people, mainly women and children, were killed on May 10 in flash flooding that ripped through Afghanistan's Baghlan province, in the north of the country, a local official told AFP.

Flash flooding has devastated parts of Afghanistan this month. Photo: AFP

At least 50 people are dead following a fresh bout of heavy rain and flooding in central Afghanistan, an official said on Saturday.

Mawlawi Abdul Hai Zaeem, the head of the information department for the central Ghor province, told Reuters that there was no information about how many people were injured in the rain spell that began on Friday, which had also cut off many key roads to the area.

Zaeem added that 2000 houses were completely destroyed, 4000 partially damaged, and more than 2000 shops were under water in the province's capital, Feroz-Koh.

Last week, flash floods caused by heavy rains devastated villages in northern Afghanistan, killing 315 people and injuring more than 1,600, authorities said on Sunday.

On Wednesday, a helicopter used by the Afghan air force crashed due to "technical issues" during attempts to recover the bodies of people who had fallen into a river in Ghor province, killing one and injuring 12 people, the country's defence ministry said.

Afghanistan is prone to natural disasters and the United Nations considers it one of countries most vulnerable to climate change.

It has battled a shortfall in aid after the Taliban took over as foreign forces withdrew from the country in 2021, since development aid that formed the backbone of government finances was slashed.

The shortfall has worsened in subsequent years as foreign governments grapple with competing global crises and growing condemnation of the Taliban's curbs on Afghan women.

- Reuters

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs