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At least 200 people killed by flash floods in Afghanistan as humanitarian emergency looms

The northern provinces of Badakhshan, Ghor, Baghlan, and Herat have all experienced heavy flooding, which has also damaged nearly 2,000 homes, an IOM communications officer said in a statement, citing the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority.

The IOM, who is providing emergency aid on the ground, said it expects the death toll to rise.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC), which is preparing its emergency response to the flooding that spans across seven provinces, put the estimated death toll higher. More than 250 lives have been lost while “thousands” of people have been stranded without access to services, the IRC said in a statement Saturday.

“These latest floods have caused a major humanitarian emergency in Afghanistan, which is still reeling from a string of earthquakes at the beginning of this year as well as severe flooding in March,” said IRC’s Afghanistan Director, Salma Ben Aissa.

“Communities have lost entire families, while livelihoods have been decimated as a result,” she said.

On Saturday, video captured by news agency Reuters showed mourners burying the dead in the province of Baghlan. One man named Gulbudeen described losing several family members in the floods.

“I lost five members of my family, two sons, two daughters, and their mother as a result of these devastating flash floods, we were standing on the other side of the flood, but we could not help them, and eventually the flood took the lives of our loved ones,” he recounted.

Residents in the village of Laqayi, also in the Baghlan province, tried to clean up the rivers of mud outside their homes on Saturday, video filmed by news agency AFP showed. Villagers could be seen wading through the deep pools of mud that appeared to have wrought extensive damage to dwellings.

The ruling Taliban acknowledged the “grievous toll” caused by the flooding in a statement posted Saturday on X by Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid.

“Regrettably, hundreds of our fellow citizens have succumbed to these calamitous floods, while a substantial number have sustained injuries. Moreover, the deluge has wrought extensive devastation upon residential properties, resulting in significant financial losses,” Mujahid said.

The Taliban has tasked its interior ministry, the ministry of disaster management and local officials to “use all available resources” to rescue the stranded, retrieve dead bodies and provide medical treatment to the injured, Mujahid added.

The flash floods add to a string of recent natural disasters that the region has had to endure.

In April, unseasonal rainfall and floods killed more than 100 people in Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to authorities. More than 600 animals also died.

Flash floods also swept away dozens in Afghanistan in July, less than three months before thousands were killed by a powerful 6.3 magnitude earthquake that struck the western part of the country.

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