Flash flooding in Afghanistan kills at least 300, many reported missing: UN

May 11, 2024

Heavy rains have set off flash floods across Afghanistan, killing more than 300 people in one province and destroying thousands of homes, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) reported on Saturday.

Most of the dead there were women and children, the UN agency said. At least 2,000 homes have been destroyed.

Zabihullah Mujahid, the chief spokesman for the Taliban government, posted on the social media platform X that “hundreds … have succumbed to these calamitous floods, while a substantial number have sustained injuries.”

Mujahid identified the provinces of Badakhshan, Baghlan, Ghor and Herat as the worst hit. He added that “the extensive devastation” has resulted in “significant financial losses.”

He said the government had ordered all available resources mobilized to rescue people, transport the injured and recover the dead.

The World Food Programme said it was distributing fortified biscuits to the survivors of one of the many floods that hit Afghanistan over the last few weeks, mostly the northern province of Baghlan, which bore the brunt of the deluges Friday.

The floods hit as Afghanistan is still reeling from a string of earthquakes at the beginning of the year as well as severe flooding in March, Salma Ben Aissa, Afghanistan director for the International Rescue Committee was quoted as saying in media reports.

“Communities have lost entire families, while livelihoods have been decimated as a result,” she said. “This should sound an alarm bell for world leaders and international donors: we call upon them to not forget Afghanistan during these turbulent global times.”

Richard Bennett, U.N. special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, said on X that the floods are a stark reminder of Afghanistan’s vulnerability to the climate crisis and both immediate aid and long-term planning by the Taliban and international actors are needed.