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Flash Floods Kill 20 In Afghanistan

On 13 June 2017, children play in a flooded street caused by recent rains in Maiduguri, capital of Borno state in north-east Nigeria. Each year, the countries around Lake Chad (Niger, Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon) suffer from severe flooding as part of the seasonal rains in the region in June 2017. Many children are at increased risk of waterborne disease as the rainy season begins in crisis-affected areas around Lake Chad. The flooding and muddy roads are expected to severely limit humanitarian access to remote areas for several weeks. This reduced access comes at a time when the needs of the population are sharply increasing with ongoing displacement and overcrowding in IDP camps. To exacerbate the risk brought by unstable weather, security concerns are significantly heightened during the month of Ramadan. There has been a sharp escalation in violence in recent weeks, including a deadly attack on Borno state capital. Security concerns are further complicating plans to preposition humanitarian supplies before the rains as the supplies could become a valuable target. UNICEF warns that there is an increased risk for children of cholera, diarrhoea and malaria. UNICEF is particularly concerned for children living in cholera “hotspots” for both returnees as well as new arrivals in flood prone areas, as they are the most vulnerable and their needs must be immediately addressed.

At least 20 people were killed by flash floods in southern Afghanistan’s Kandahar province, the UN said Saturday, as heavy rains swept away homes and vehicles and potentially damaged thousands of houses.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said widespread flooding indudated Kandahar city and surrounding districts in the province, with 97mm of rain falling in affected areas in the last 30 hours.

“At least 10 people, including children, are still missing,” said the UN agency in a statement.

“It is anticipated that up to 2,000 homes may have been damaged”, with severe damage to infrastructure also being reported.

Kandahar’s deputy governor Abdul Hanan Moneeb said the flooding was the worst in at least seven years, with many nomadic herders camped in the area swept away by the floodwaters along with their livestock.

The official added that 400 families have been rescued by the Afghan army since the flooding began late Friday night.

Rescue operations, however, were largely delayed due to heavy rainfall, Raziq Shirzai, the provincial commander of the Afghan air force, told AFP.

Disasters such as avalanches and flash floods often hit mountainous areas and river valleys of Afghanistan as snow melts in the spring and summer. It is made worse by deforestation.

Heavy snowfall across large swathes of Afghanistan this winter has raised fears of severe flooding as spring approaches, following years of devastating drought in the country.

Nearly 50 people have been killed as of February 12 due to flooding in Afghanistan so far this year, according to the UN.




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