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Taliban report 150 dead in floods

In northern Afghanistan there are no signs of calming down after the severe floods. The Taliban now assume that more than 150 people have died. Relatives are searching for survivors in the more than 2,000 damaged houses.

Severe flooding in Afghanistan has been ongoing for weeks. The north of the country is particularly affected. The death toll rose sharply in the northeastern province of Baghlan.

The Taliban Interior Ministry estimates 151 dead and 135 injured so far, spokesman Abdul Mateen Qaniee told the Reuters news agency. The AFP news agency, citing the Afghan civil protection agency, reports more than 200 deaths.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), at least 100 people died in each of the Jadid and Burka districts of Baghlan province, and around 2,000 houses were damaged or destroyed. The number of deaths in Baghlan was previously reported as 62.

Extensive devastation

In Tachar province, further north, authorities reported 20 deaths as a result of the floods. According to official reports, the floods also caused severe damage in the provinces of Badakhshan, Ghor and Herat. The Defense Ministry said it had sent rescue workers to the affected areas.

The spokesman for the Taliban government, Sabihulla Mujahid, wrote that the worst affected were the provinces of Badakhshan, Baghlan, Ghor and Herat. There is extensive devastation and significant financial damage. The Taliban Defense Ministry said the air force had begun evacuations in Baghlan and rescued a large number of people stuck in the floods. Hundreds of injured people were taken to military hospitals.

Apparently mainly women and children were among the victims

The civil protection agency in Baghlan province said on Friday that the dead were mainly women and children. In many places, the floods caught people unprepared.

Videos on social media show streams of muddy water flooding streets. Rescue teams can be seen searching for possible additional victims under the mud and rubble with the help of the army and police.

Meanwhile, according to information from the AP news agency, there are more and more videos showing desperate relatives in front of hospitals. An official in Baghlan province is said to have asked people to start digging graves in view of the high number of victims.

U.N-Special Rapporteur demands immediate help

Afghanistan is considered particularly vulnerable to climate change. After a very dry winter, the soil is particularly unable to absorb precipitation.

Immediate help and long-term planning on the part of the Taliban and international actors are necessary in view of the humanitarian crisis, writes Richard Bennett, UN special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Afghanistan, on the online platform X.

Agricultural Areas unusable

These are not the first floods this year. Around 100 people have died in ten Afghan provinces since mid-April. Due to the heavy rains, large parts of the arable land are unusable. This is catastrophic for the country; 80 percent of the four million inhabitants live from agriculture.

The radical Islamic Taliban took back power in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of international troops in the summer of 2021. Since then, many states and aid organizations have reduced their aid to the impoverished country. After natural disasters, people are largely left to their own devices.

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