Afghanistan: Hundreds of deaths are feared due to floods in Baghlan and Takhar.


  • the author, James Gregory.
  • the role, BBC News

Floods in northern Afghanistan are feared to have killed hundreds, with warnings that the death toll could rise after more storms sweep across the region.

Taliban officials say at least 150 have been killed, while the World Food Program says more than 300 people have died after heavy rains hit five districts of Baghlan province on Friday night.

In pictures on social media, it can be seen that waves of water are flowing into houses in several villages, leading to destruction.

The country has been hit by unusually heavy rains over the past few weeks, with floods claiming several lives since mid-April.

At least 131 people were killed in Baghlan province and 20 in Takhar, Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul Mateen Qani told the BBC.

Meanwhile, Rana Deraz of the United Nations World Food Program told AFP news agency that 311 people had died in Baghlan.

Ms Deraz said 2,011 houses were destroyed and another 2,800 were damaged.

Three mosques and four schools were also affected.

Most of the dead were from the province's Borka district, where more than 200 people were trapped in their homes.

Badakhshan, Ghor and West Herat provinces also reported severe damage.

Local official Hidayatullah Hamdard told the AFP news agency that emergency personnel, including the army, were “searching for any possible victims under the mud and debris”.

Tents, blankets and food were provided to some families who had lost their homes, the official added.

The main road connecting Kabul with northern Afghanistan is closed.

It comes after floods in the west of the country last month killed dozens, leaving thousands in need of humanitarian aid.

Floods occur when rainfall is so heavy that normal drainage cannot cope.

Relatively dry winters have made it difficult for the soil to absorb rain, experts say. Vast areas of agriculture have also been submerged.

Torrential rains and floods kill people every year in Afghanistan, where poorly constructed houses in isolated rural areas are particularly vulnerable.

Many factors contribute to flooding, but a warmer climate due to climate change makes more rain more likely.

The world has already warmed by about 1.1 degrees Celsius since the start of the industrial era, and temperatures will continue to rise unless governments around the world drastically reduce emissions.

image caption, Severe flooding has occurred in northern Baghlan province.

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