More than 100 people have been killed and thousands left homeless by flash floods in northern Afghanistan, prompting desperate pleas for help from provincial authorities.
An official from Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Sunday that 111 dead bodies have been found so far from Sar-e Pol, Zawzjan, Faryab and Badghis provinces. Around 20 other people are still missing.
The official said about 1,000 people have fled their villages, after losing their houses, crops and livestock.
The Afghan National Army is using helicopters to rescue people trapped by flood waters and ferry food and water to remote areas.
Jawzjan provincial police chief Faqer Mohammad Jawzjani said, “We have carried 1,500 people to safe areas of neighboring districts by helicopter. We need emergency assistance from the central government and aid agencies.”
“Ten thousand families have been affected and more than 2,000 houses have been destroyed,” governor of neighboring Faryab province Mohammadullah Batazhn said.
Many homes in rural areas of Afghanistan are reportedly built of mud or stone, and are easily washed away by flooding.
Landlocked Afghanistan with its rugged terrain is highly vulnerable to various kinds of natural disasters, which adversely impact the lives of thousands of people every year, according to international aid agencies.