Flash floods hit western Afghan province

By staff writers
November 30, 2006

Flash floods hit western Afghan province

-30/11/06

Development and faith-based agencies have been responding to severe flash floods in Afghanistanís western province of Badghis, which have killed at least 56 people and left more than 4,500 families in urgent need of help.

Mud-brick homes, livestock and farmland were washed away in the floods on 20 November severely affecting families already hard hit by a year of severe droughts.

Christian Aid from the UK has provided trucks of food and blankets to 500 flood-affected families and is supporting its partner organisation, the Sanayee Development Organisation, in sending emergency assistance to another 148 families.

In the immediate aftermath of the floods, trucks carrying aid were delayed near the large settlement of Qala-e-Naw due to road closures. Government helicopters were also unable to land due to weather conditions in the worst-hit areas on the border with Turkmenistan.

"There is an urgent need for food, shelter and blankets for affected families", said Jozef van Mierlo, Christian Aidís Afghanistan representative. "We have a lack of resources for effective transportation [of aid] either by air or by road in Qala-e-Naw."

Local authorities said the floods washed away thousands of hectares of farmland, killed around 2,300 heads of livestock and damaged over 3,500 houses.

The remoteness of the area has made damage assessment very difficult and around a hundred people are still feared missing.

Afghanistanís health department has sent medical teams of seven doctors and nurses to the isolated districts, after health officials warned of an outbreak of infectious diseases.

Local villagers no longer have clean water sources and have been forced to drink contaminated flood water.

"The death toll, number of casualties and loss of livelihoods increase every time the rescue team manage to get access to affected villages," said Christian Aidís advocacy officer Sultan Maqsood Fazel. "Winter is on its way and snow will blanket some parts of western Afghanistan in a couple of weeks. If adequate assistance does not reach the affected communities, it will further aggravate the situation."

Other parts of the country have also been badly struck by flooding including the western province of Farah where 18 people were killed and hundreds of families affected. The southern province of Uruzgan has been hit by torrential rains.

The floods are the latest blow to this country, ravaged by poverty, ongoing insecurity and a resurgence of the Taliban in the south. Severe droughts this year have left 2.5 million people facing acute food shortages, which will worsen as winter takes hold.

Meanwhile,British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been talking about a significant troop increase to combat the insurgency in Afghanistan, months after the Western coalition declared the struggle there "won".

Flash floods hit western Afghan province

-30/11/06

Development and faith-based agencies have been responding to severe flash floods in Afghanistanís western province of Badghis, which have killed at least 56 people and left more than 4,500 families in urgent need of help.

Mud-brick homes, livestock and farmland were washed away in the floods on 20 November severely affecting families already hard hit by a year of severe droughts.

Christian Aid from the UK has provided trucks of food and blankets to 500 flood-affected families and is supporting its partner organisation, the Sanayee Development Organisation, in sending emergency assistance to another 148 families.

In the immediate aftermath of the floods, trucks carrying aid were delayed near the large settlement of Qala-e-Naw due to road closures. Government helicopters were also unable to land due to weather conditions in the worst-hit areas on the border with Turkmenistan.

"There is an urgent need for food, shelter and blankets for affected families", said Jozef van Mierlo, Christian Aidís Afghanistan representative. "We have a lack of resources for effective transportation [of aid] either by air or by road in Qala-e-Naw."

Local authorities said the floods washed away thousands of hectares of farmland, killed around 2,300 heads of livestock and damaged over 3,500 houses.

The remoteness of the area has made damage assessment very difficult and around a hundred people are still feared missing.

Afghanistanís health department has sent medical teams of seven doctors and nurses to the isolated districts, after health officials warned of an outbreak of infectious diseases.

Local villagers no longer have clean water sources and have been forced to drink contaminated flood water.

"The death toll, number of casualties and loss of livelihoods increase every time the rescue team manage to get access to affected villages," said Christian Aidís advocacy officer Sultan Maqsood Fazel. "Winter is on its way and snow will blanket some parts of western Afghanistan in a couple of weeks. If adequate assistance does not reach the affected communities, it will further aggravate the situation."

Other parts of the country have also been badly struck by flooding including the western province of Farah where 18 people were killed and hundreds of families affected. The southern province of Uruzgan has been hit by torrential rains.

The floods are the latest blow to this country, ravaged by poverty, ongoing insecurity and a resurgence of the Taliban in the south. Severe droughts this year have left 2.5 million people facing acute food shortages, which will worsen as winter takes hold.

Meanwhile,British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been talking about a significant troop increase to combat the insurgency in Afghanistan, months after the Western coalition declared the struggle there "won".

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