Afghanistan - Flash Floods in Northern Region - Statement Attributable to Mr. Mark Bowden, United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Afghanistan

Kabul, 26 April, 2014 - Heavy rainfall since 24 April has sparked flash floods across six provinces of the Northern Region of Afghanistan, causing loss of life and widespread damage to homes and agriculture. Provincial authorities report that more than 120 Afghans have been killed and more are still missing.

Mark Bowden, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator said: "On behalf of the UN Humanitarian agencies, I wish to extend our condolences to all those families who have lost loved ones as a result of this flooding”.

The Afghan Government’s Provincial Disaster Management Committees (PDMC) are leading the coordination of operational response within their affected provinces, with support from humanitarian agencies. The foremost priority at the moment is saving lives. Whilst search and rescue operations continue in the 23 districts worst affected, assessments in flood-hit areas have been initiated to determine the full extent of the damage caused, as well as responding to the immediate needs of the population. With some areas still difficult to access, it may be some time yet until a clear picture of the full extent of the damage is known.

Initial reports indicate that Jawzjan province is the worst affected in the region, where 80 people have reportedly been killed and some 6,000 people have been displaced. The provinces of Faryab, Sar-e-Pul, Balkh, Samangan and Takhar have also been affected to a lesser degree. The affected Afghan populations are urgently in need of clean drinking water, medical supplies, food, non-food items and emergency shelter. Humanitarian agencies are already present on the ground and working in close coordination with the local authorities to deliver assistance to where it is needed most.

The Northern Region of Afghanistan is susceptible to recurring natural disasters, where seasonal rains and spring snow melt regularly result in life-threatening flash floods. The National Disaster Management Commission, supported by the international humanitarian community, regularly prepares Spring contingency plans to help better prepare and respond to such disasters, as well as mitigating the impact. Given these ongoing risks and vulnerabilities, the Government has also been working to construct flood protection systems in those communities most prone to flash floods.

For further information, please contact:
Aidan O’Leary , OCHA Head of Office, OCHA Afghanistan, +93 793001101, oleary@un.org;

Source: All facts and figures reported herein are obtained from the “Afghanistan Flash Floods: OCHA Situation Report No.1, 25 April 2014”, available at http://reliefweb.int/report/afghanistan/afghanistan-flash-floods-situati...

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

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