Herat, Afghanistan (AFP):
Six people have been killed and dozens of homes washed away in central Afghanistan after heavy rains were funnelled down mountain valleys causing devastating floods, a local official said Wednesday.
Research describes Afghanistan as highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, which scientists say is making extreme weather events more harsh and more frequent.
Abdul Wahid Hamas, a spokesman for the Taliban governor in central Ghor province, said the area hit by high waters on Tuesday “has not seen such a flood at least in the last decade”.
He said three women and a child were killed when their home was washed away in the provincial capital of Firozkoh — 280 kilometres (170 miles) east of the city of Herat.
“People of the area have seen huge losses,” said Bahauddin, 47, a relative of the four fatalities, who goes by only one name.
In Pasaband district, in the same province, a man and a woman were also swept away and later found dead, Hamas said, while one person remains missing after the flood.
More than 100 houses and about 200 hectares (500 acres) of agricultural land were destroyed, with canals used to irrigate the fields damaged, he said.
“It was raining heavily and flood waters were coming from the mountains,” Hamas told AFP. “We don’t have more details of the financial losses for now.”
Ghor province has also been at the epicentre of a prolonged drought in recent years, exacerbating a humanitarian crisis in motion since the collapse of the US-backed government in 2021.
After the Taliban’s return to power, huge inflows of aid dried up, with foreign nations wary of dealing with Kabul’s new rulers.
NGOs and the United Nations have been subjected to restrictions by the Taliban government over employment of Afghan women to carry out vital aid work, while the world body has struggled to secure cash donations for the country.
Nine out of 10 Afghan families cannot afford enough food, the World Food Programme said in March.