More than 300 killed in Afghanistan flash floods

Many others remain missing, with authorities scrambling to rescue the injured. 

An Afghan man carries his belongings as he walks through a mud covered street following a flash flood after a heavy rainfall in Laqiha village of Baghlan-i-Markazi district in Baghlan province on May 11, 2024. At least 62 people, mainly women and children, were killed on May 10 in flash flooding that ripped through Afghanistan's Baghlan province, in the north of the country, a local official told AFP. (Photo by AFP)
A man carries his belongings as he walks through a muddy street following a flash flood in Afghanistan's Baghlan province [AFP]

The Taliban’s ministry for refugees said on Sunday the death toll from flooding in northern Afghanistan was 315, with more than 1,600 people injured.

The toll was announced on Sunday, a day after the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) said over 300 people were killed and many others remained missing, with authorities scrambling to rescue the injured.

The number of dead is rising quickly, as the Taliban’s Ministry of Interior Affairs had said earlier Saturday that some 150 people were killed in the floods.

(Al Jazeera)

WFP said the worst-hit province was Baghlan, where more than 1,000 homes have been destroyed.

The UN agency said it was distributing fortified biscuits to the survivors of one of the many floods that hit the country over the past few weeks.


Heavy rains on Friday led to flooding in several areas of the country.

Zabihullah Mujahid, the chief spokesman for the Taliban government, said in a social media post on Saturday that “hundreds … have succumbed to these calamitous floods, while a substantial number have sustained injuries”.

Apart from Baghlan, the provinces of Badakhshan in the northeast, central Ghor and western Herat were also heavily affected, he wrote on X, adding that “the extensive devastation” had resulted in “significant financial losses”.

The UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) told the AFP news agency on Saturday that more than 200 people were killed and thousands of homes were destroyed or damaged in Baghlan alone.

The air force had started evacuating people and moved more than 100 injured people to military hospitals, the Taliban Ministry of Defense said on Saturday, without mentioning from which provinces.

“By announcing the state of emergency in [affected] areas, the Ministry of National Defense has started distributing food, medicine and first aid to the impacted people,” it said in a statement.

Hedayatullah Hamdard, the head of Baghlan’s natural disaster management department, earlier told AFP that the toll “will probably increase”, adding that light rain had continued into the night in multiple districts of the province.

Residents were unprepared for the sudden rush of water set off by the heavy downpour in recent days, he added.

Emergency personnel were “searching for any possible victims under the mud and rubble, with the help of security forces from the national army and police”, Hamdard said.

Since mid-April, floods have killed about 100 people in 10 of Afghanistan’s provinces, with no region entirely spared, according to the authorities.

Farmlands have been submerged in a country where 80 percent of the more than 40 million people depend on agriculture to survive.

Mohammad Akram Akbari, the provincial director of natural disaster management in Badakhshan, said the mountainous province had seen “heavy financial losses in several areas … due to floods”.

He said casualties were feared in Tishkan district, where floodwaters had blocked a road and cut off access to an area where about 20,000 people lived.

People walk near their damaged homes after heavy flooding in Baghlan province in northern Afghanistan Saturday, May 11, 2024. Flash floods from seasonal rains in Baghlan province in northern Afghanistan killed dozens of people on Friday, a Taliban official said. (AP Photo/Mehrab Ibrahimi)
Children survey their damaged homes after heavy flooding in Baghlan province in northern Afghanistan [Mehrab Ibrahimi/AP]
Source: News Agencies