Floods continue to claim lives, destroy properties in Afghanistan
7 May 2009 - Floods caused by heavy rainfall have killed 41 people and inflicted considerable damage to infrastructure and property in the three north eastern provinces of Baghlan, Takhar and Badakhshan.
More than 750 houses, 10 bridges, 117 water dams, 3,000 metres of protection walls and some 1,100 acres of agricultural land and more than 400 gardens were destroyed or damaged by recent floods while approximately 250 livestock perished in the three provinces.
“The Kukcha Bridge was destroyed on 5 May disconnecting Taluqan, the provincial capital of Takhar province, with its six districts,” said Abdul Razaq Zundah, the head of the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority in the north eastern region.
The collapse of the bridge, as a vital artery, will have serious economic and humanitarian implications as it is the only bridge that connects 40 per cent of Takhar’s population with the provincial centre.
“Fifty acres of agricultural land were ruined, including my own 10 acres of land. We requested the water management department build gabions for farmers, but they didn’t respond so our properties have been destroyed,” said Jumaddun, a representative of Makhdum village in Taluqan.
“The rains started on 20 April in all the north eastern provinces followed by floods a week later. There is no district in the north eastern region which is not affected by floods,” said Zundah.
“The flood destroyed some parts of my house but I have received nothing yet neither from the Government nor from other organizations,” said Amanullah from the Mahajer village in Taluqan.
“The flood washed away approximately 30 per cent of agricultural lands in Takhar province alone. Local people come daily to the agricultural department for help,” said Abdul Saboor Karimi, the deputy of Takhar’s agricultural department.
“As soon as we received the news about floods, we distributed emergency assistance that included tents, plastic sheets, kitchen kits, blankets and food items to 19 families in Chobur and Shekh Abad villages of Taluqan,” said Ghulam Rabani Ghani Yar, the head of the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) in Takhar province.
“The assessment of the flood affected areas is on-going and as soon as it is complete we can distribute assistance for 100 families, and if more assistance is required we will request it from ARCS Mazar,” concluded Ghani Yar.
Some 20,000 to 25,000 people may be affected by future floods in Kunduz province alone, according to the head of the provincial council.
An Emergency Response Task Force comprised of Government departments, UN agencies and NGOs are working to help those affected by floods.
By Shamsuddin Hamedi, UNAMA