At least one hundred and thirteen people perished in flooding caused by a flash flood, which struck overnight from Wednesday to Thursday in the province of Nouristan, in northeastern Afghanistan. This new report, communicated on Saturday, July 31, also reports 110 people who remain missing.
In addition, “173 houses were totally destroyed, as well as 10 businesses and 6 bridges”, as reported by Tamim Azimi, spokesperson for the Afghan Ministry of Disaster Management. A previous report, drawn up on Friday, then reported 60 dead and 180 missing.
Kamdesh district, where the main damage took place, is a mountainous area and difficult to access. “The area is under the control of the Taliban, (…) but we were able to send relief teams with those of the Afghan Red Crescent”, said Mr. Azimi, adding that the search for the missing continued.
Disasters of this kind are not uncommon in the country and claim many victims every year, especially in the poorer rural areas, where houses are often fragile and built in risky areas. Already in August 2020, a flood had killed a hundred people in the city of Charikar, the capital of the province of Parwan, located about sixty kilometers north of Kabul. In April 2014, several villages and fields in the north of the country were swept away by torrential rains, which had engulfed several thousand homes and caused the death of at least 80 people.
In this country impoverished by forty years of war, rescue operations and delivery of aid following a natural disaster are often hampered by a lack of equipment and infrastructure, especially in isolated areas.
The disaster comes as the government struggles to contain an all-out Taliban offensive, which has taken over large rural areas of the country in the past three months. Afghanistan, whose health system remains extremely precarious despite the support of foreign donors, is also facing a third wave of Covid-19.