Floods leave at least 70 dead in northern Afghanistan

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Heavy flooding has killed at least 70 people and injured dozens of others as heavy seasonal rains drenched northern and eastern Afghanistan, officials said Wednesday.

Spokesperson for northern Parwan province Wahida Shahkar said the number of casualties may rise as rescue teams work to locate people buried under destroyed houses. She said at least 66 people were killed and 90 were injured in the province.

The head of the provincial hospital, Abdul Qasim Sangin, said several children were among the dead and some injured are in critical condition. Shahkar said the flooding started in the central part of the province overnight following heavy rains, destroying many homes. She called on the government to deliver aid and provide immediate support for workers digging through mud to reach those who were trapped.

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Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in a statement ordered aid be delivered to Parwan and other provinces while expressing his condolences to the victims’ families.

Ahmad Tameem Azimi, spokesman of the Disaster Management Ministry, said flooding blocked highways to eastern and northern provinces.

“Along with rescuing people were are working to open the highways back to the traffic,” he said.

Azimi said at least 300 houses were destroyed in Parwan and over a thousand people displaced. He said ground and air support sent to help those trapped by the flooding had reached the provinces. Azimi said the ministry warned residents of possible flooding in the region with a social media alert late Tuesday.

He said hundred of acres of agricultural land have been destroyed, with the heavy rain wiping out all the corps in eastern Nuristan province.

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Houses and roads were destroyed in northern Kapisa, Panjshir and eastern Paktia provinces, Azimi said.

In eastern Maidan Wardak province two people died and five were injured when flooding destroyed several houses, Azimi said. The office of the Nangarhar governor said in a statement that two members of a family died and four others were injured Wednesday morning when the wall of their house collapsed in flooding.

Summer often brings heavy rainfall in northern and eastern Afghanistan, leading to floods that leave hundreds dead every year.

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