Aid organisations say thousands of people have been affected by flash floods in western Afghanistan.
Flash floods caused by heavy rains have killed at least 35 people in Afghanistan, washing away houses and cutting off access to remote villages across parts of the country, officials said on Saturday.
Heavy flooding that started early on Friday killed at least 12 people in the northern province of Faryab and 10 people in the western province of Herat, said Hashmat Bahaduri, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA).
Eight people were killed in Badghis province in the west and five in Balkh province in the north, Bahaduri told AFP, adding that more than 3,000 houses had been destroyed.
In Herat, 10 districts and some parts of Herat city were impacted, said Jailani Farhad, spokesman for the province’s governor.
“Hundreds of houses have been destroyed and thousands displaced,” he said.
Mir Gulabuddin Miri, director of the Afghan Red Crescent in Herat, said access to some areas had been cut off, preventing teams from reaching affected people.
“The destruction is huge. Over 12 areas in the province have been badly hit, people have lost their houses. We’ve only been able to provide them with some food and blankets so far,” he said.
Aid workers in the northern provinces of Faryab and Balkh have also been struggling to deliver humanitarian assistance to affected families.
#AFGHANISTAN: Severe rain and floodwaters hit western Afghanistan last night, with early indications that tens of thousands of people are affected. We have response teams assessing the damage today, and we’ll be responding to families’ needs: https://t.co/V8CFBH38jr pic.twitter.com/LaMi0GiDGu— World Vision (@WorldVision) March 29, 2019
The floods worsen an already desperate situation. Hundreds of thousands of people are displaced in western Afghanistan from last year's severe drought. Floods in early March caused further destruction and put this year's wheat harvest at risk.
Children waded through muddy, knee-deep floodwaters that flowed through tent camps for displaced people after the rain stopped.
Officials in Herat, which borders Iran, put the death toll higher than the national government. Dr. Abdul Hakim Tamana, head of public health for the province, said eight people were killed and nine injured.
Floods have destroyed hundreds of homes, some historic sites, thousands of acres of farmland, bridges and highways, said Jilani Farhad, a spokesman for Herat province.
Aid organisation World Vision said in a statement it appeared tens of thousands of Afghans were affected. Some Badghis residents were calling it the worst storm in 20 years, it said.
Iran has also been flooded by torrential rains, overwhelming emergency services in some areas.