Afghanistan flash flooding kills 31 as more rain expected

NGOs and aid agencies cut off most funding after the Taliban took over the country last year

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Heavy rain set off flash floods that killed at least 31 people and left more than 100 missing in northern Afghanistan, the Taliban’s state-run news agency reported on Monday.

The Bakhtar News Agency said the flooding took place on Sunday in northern Parwan province. The agency said women and children were among the dead and 17 people were injured.

Monday's flash floods swept away dozens of homes in three affected districts in Parwan. The province is ringed by mountains and flooding from heavy rain is frequent in the area.

The local weather department said more rain was expected in most of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. Heavy rain and flash floods across the country killed 40 people last month and 19 in June.

A search and rescue operation was under way on Tuesday but Taliban efforts to save people and rebuild after the flood are likely to be hampered by a lack of aid.

NGOs and aid agencies largely cut off funding to Afghanistan after the hardline group took over the country last year, over fears of funding the Taliban or breaching international sanctions.

But on Monday the Red Cross appealed to states and donors to set aside political objections and resume aid flows into Afghanistan's state institutions to ease an "unbearable" humanitarian situation. Even without natural disasters such as the flooding and a huge earthquake this year, 20 million Afghans are reliant on aid to survive.

"Humanitarian organisations alone cannot replace public institutions of a country of 40 million people," Red Cross director general Robert Mardini told Reuters. "Our key message is really to ask states and development agencies to return to Afghanistan and continue their support for Afghans who are already facing today an unbearable situation."

Updated: August 16, 2022, 11:41 AM
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