Disasters & Accidents

Death toll in Afghan flash floods rises to 200

Kabul, July 30 (EFE).- At least 200 people have died in flash floods that hit parts of eastern Afghanistan two days ago, an official said Friday.

Rescue efforts continue for any survivors in a village swept away by the flooding late Wednesday in the Kamdish district of the Taliban-held territory in the Nuristan province.

“The death toll is now over 200,” provincial council chief Saydullah Paynda told EFE.

The council chief said the authorities recovered 48 bodies while searches for the remaining continue.

Disaster management agency spokesperson Tamim Azimi told EFE that the flooding destroyed at least 150 houses in the Mirdish village.

The flooding destroyed two bridges connecting the village.

Taliban fighters control the area as the insurgents continue making swift military advances across the country, capturing large swathes of territories in the last three months of intense fighting.

Local officials called on the Taliban to let aid groups in the flood-hit district for emergency humanitarian assistance.

Azimi said the insurgents let the rescue and response teams access the affected areas.

“Our rescue and response teams are searching for the missing bodies,” he said.

However, Azimi said the government did not send emergency relief for the affected villagers because the Taliban did not allow it.

“We are trying that through mediation of local elders to get the Taliban consent for emergency assistance,” he said.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid told EFE that the rescue work was underway in the area.

The Taliban on Thursday vowed to send 5 million Afghans ($65,000) in cash for the needy people in the flood-hit area.

The group instructed its fighters in the area not to “hinder” humanitarian assistance by charity organizations.

Nuristan is one of the most impoverished provinces of the war-ravaged country.

Its mountainous topography makes made villages vulnerable to natural disasters like flash floods and avalanches.

Afghanistan often suffers from natural disasters causing the loss of numerous lives, such as the landslides in May 2014 in the north-eastern part of the country that left some 2,000 people dead.

Nearly 50 people died in May this year after heavy rains and flash floods hit 15 of the 34 provinces, damaging around 1,000 houses.

In August last year, nearly 200 people were killed and some 1,000 houses destroyed in floods caused by heavy rains in about a dozen Afghan provinces. EFE

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