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Scores killed by flash floods in Afghanistan

More than 50 people dead and homes levelled by floods triggered by heavy rains in eastern and southeastern provinces.

Last Modified: 04 Aug 2013 15:22
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Flash floods triggered by days of torrential rain have killed more than 50 people in Afghanistan, destroying dozens of houses, officials say.

An estimated 30 people remained missing on Sunday.

Provincial spokesmen in Nangarhar, Kabul, Khost, Laghman and Nuristan said all the floods struck early Saturday.

Flash floods are common in those provinces and all are fed by rivers that eventually intersect in Nangarhar.

In Kabul's Surobi district, police chief Shaghasi Ahmadi said 34 people were killed in a remote and mountainous area. He said 22 of the bodies from Surobi were later found downstream in Laghman.

Farmland destroyed

Officials said the floodwaters also destroyed hundreds of hectares of farmland and displaced hundreds of people.

"At least 237 houses have been destroyed in Surobi alone," Ghulam Farooq, the head of the emergency operations for Afghanistan's National Disaster Management Authority, said.

Emergency teams were sent to the affected areas to assess the situation.

Rains can quickly weaken the structures of the mud-walled homes that dot the countryside in Afghanistan, causing buildings to collapse during heavy downpours.

Harsh winters and heavy snowfalls often cause swollen rivers that trigger flooding in the mountainous country in spring and summer. 

But this year, Afghanistan witnessed one of the hottest summers in decades with temperatures reaching up to 50 degrees Celsius in some parts. 

In neighbouring Pakistan on Saturday, the same storm system brought heavy rains that caused more than 100 homes to collapse and caved in a factory wall, killing at least 14 people.

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