Heavy seasonal rains and snowmelt—exacerbated by above-average snowfall during the 2011/2012 winter season—have resulted in localized flooding in nearly all of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces since March. Between March and May, flooding in eight northern provinces killed approximately 160 people and affected an estimated 22,000 families, according to the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA). Flood events in June have resulted in at least 32 additional deaths, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Part of the USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) strategy for responding to conflict and natural disasters, such as floods, in Afghanistan is to pre-position relief supplies in order to facilitate a rapid response to identified humanitarian needs. In line with this strategy, USAID/OFDA’s partners have utilized pre-positioned emergency relief commodities strategically located throughout the country to respond to humanitarian needs resulting from recent flooding.
USAID/OFDA’s strategy in Afghanistan also includes enhancing humanitarian coordination, information gathering, and analysis of emergency data. Accordingly, USAID/OFDA recently provided $1 million to OCHA to improve coordination and information sharing within the humanitarian community. In total, USAID/OFDA has now provided more than $3 million for humanitarian coordination and information management in Afghanistan.
On June 11, two earthquakes measuring magnitudes 5.4 and 5.7 struck Baghlan Province in northern Afghanistan, resulting in 63 deaths, according to ANDMA. The majority of deaths occurred in Burkah District, where an earthquake-induced landslide buried several homes.