Floods affect thousands in Helmand and Uruzgan
11 February 2010 - The recent torrential rains and floods have inflicted heavy losses to humans and to property in Kandahar, Helmand and Uruzgan.
This is the heaviest rain seen in the area for half a century and has affected hundreds of people and caused devastation to property, livestock and agriculture farms.
Zulmai Ayoubi, spokesperson for the Governor of Kandahar, told UNAMA that hundreds of mud houses were destroyed due to recent heavy rains and floods. Mr Ayoubi said that around 1,000 livestock were killed in different parts of Kandahar and dozens of people were stranded by flood water in Dand district.
Mr Ayoubi added that the bodies of 15 victims, who drowned in Shah Wali Kot district, have been recovered; however, three persons are still missing. The 250 families, who were stranded by flood waters in Khake Shefa, a village located in Dand district of Kandahar, were rescued by the Afghan National Army with the help of helicopters.
The Public Works Department and a private company used their resources to remove the blockage of water-flow and clear culverts in various parts of Kandahar with the help of locals.
Mr Ayoubi further said that Kandahar’s Rural Rehabilitation and Development Department, (RRD), the Afghan Red Crescent Society and some private businessmen provided assistance to the affected families, including food to over 100 families in Kandahar.
Assistance also came in the form of blankets, kerosene lamps, tents, shovels, pick axes and other material to 200 to 400 families.
The United Nations agencies – under the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) – called an emergency meeting on Monday and decided to launch a survey in Dand, Daman and the urban districts of Kandahar to identify those in need of urgent assistance.
“OCHA and UNAMA on 8 February started data collection on the areas affected with flooding and rain. Initial reports indicate 27 families in Kandahar, 300 families in Dand and 145 Kuchi families in Daman have been severally affected and their resources together with livestock have been washed out. The overall situation is under control. However, the affected families are in serious need of humanitarian aid and shelter,” said Ahmad Jama, UNAMA’s Humanitarian Officer in Kandahar.
Mr Jama added, “the data which we have received, so far shows that 800-1,000 families have been affected by floods and rains, 20 people are dead and 100-200 houses have been destroyed by rains causing flooding in Kandahar province. The infrastructure damage is still under assessment.”
During a meeting chaired by the Kandahar governor it was decided that the government will distribute tents while UN agencies (such as WFP, UNICEF, UNHCR and IOM) will conduct a separate meeting to prepare for verification and further distribution of food and non-food assistance to the affected families.
Despite the devastation caused by torrential rains and floods, some farmers in Kandahar, who feared drought this year, seemed overjoyed with the recent rains.
According to the government, 35mms of rain was recorded in Kandahar.
Meantime, while aid agencies and local government are trying to assist the rain affected people in Kandahar, there are also reports of flooding caused by heavy rains in Uruzgan and Helmand provinces.
OCHA has reported that around 108 families have been affected in Helmand by heavy rains/floods.
Although rain and snow began late this year, it has caused human and animal casualties and damage to the infrastructure in many parts of the country.
By Mujeeb Rahman, UNAMA