Afghanistan Flood Kills 80 – The New York Times

Afghanistan Flood Kills 80 – The New York Times
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Afghanistan Flood Kills 80 – The New York Times

Afghanistan Flood Kills 80 – The New York Times

KABUL, Afghanistan – At least 80 people have been killed and around 100 are missing after a flash flood ravaged a village in a Taliban-controlled area in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday evening, said Afghan officials.

The flood swept through most of the village in Nuristan Province, destroying around 200 homes and catching most of the residents off guard because they were sleeping. As of Thursday evening, villagers had recovered around 80 bodies, but as the search continues, local authorities expect the death toll to exceed 200.

“It is devastated, there is nothing left after the floods,” said Abdul Naser, a local resident who visited the village on Thursday. “No help has arrived yet, and there are no coffins, coffins and funerals.”

The flash flood is the latest blow to Afghanistan, where fighting between government forces and the Taliban has displaced hundreds of thousands of people in recent months and pushed the country to the brink of a humanitarian crisis, according to agencies. ‘help. Since international troops began withdrawing in May, the Taliban have made a rapid military advance across the country, taking control of more than half of the country’s roughly 400 districts.

But as the militant group continues its offensive, raising the possibility of a full takeover by the Taliban, many have questioned whether they could actually rule the war-stricken country dependent on foreign aid if they were to. take power. The flooding in Kamdesh district offered a first test for the Taliban’s ability to provide relief services – a sign of effective governance – in areas they control.

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On Thursday afternoon, local officials called on the Taliban to allow aid groups access to the district to provide emergency services. But by the afternoon, search and rescue teams had still not been able to reach the remote village, largely because the Taliban controlled the roads leading to the district, according to a statement from the Ministry of Disaster Management. . Local disaster management committees in neighboring Kunar and Laghman provinces were working to bring their relief teams to the area.

“The area is under Taliban control, if the Taliban allow us, we will bring aid to the region,” said Hafiz Abdul Qayum, governor of Nuristan province.

In a statement Thursday evening, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the group welcomed aid from humanitarian organizations.

Flooding in northern and eastern Afghanistan is not uncommon at this time of year. In August last year, flooding in Charikar, a town at the foot of the Hindu Kush Mountains in northern Afghanistan, left at least 92 dead and 108 injured.

But the flash flood in Nuristan comes as extreme weather has wreaked havoc on the world this summer and scientists warn that warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions is changing the climate. Heavy precipitation is a visible sign of this change, they say, as a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture – producing more powerful rains.

This month alone, floods considered unique in a millennium or rarer have killed at least 170 people in Europe and caused billions of damage after homes, businesses, vehicles and networks of electricity and sewers were destroyed. Flood waters trapped terrified passengers in submerged subway cars, swept cars away and caused power outages in Zhengzhou, China. And the monsoon rains triggered a flash flood in the Grand Canyon in the United States.

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In recent decades, flash floods have become increasingly frequent in Afghanistan after widespread deforestation has largely destroyed the open forests and closed forests that once slowed the flow of water along the mountains. With weak governance and entrenched conflicts putting people in further danger, Afghanistan consistently ranks among the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change, according to the World Bank.

Of the 110,000 Afghans who have been affected by some sort of natural disaster so far this year, 75 percent have suffered flooding, according to the United Nations.

Fahim Abed reported from Kabul, Afghanistan, and Zabihullah Ghazi from Jalalabad.

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