Afghanistan

Afghanistan: Flash Floods - Information Bulletin n° 1

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The heavy rainfall since 24 April has caused flooding and flash floods in nine provinces in northern Afghanistan. According to UN figures, the flooding has claimed 132 lives with many more still missing. More than 16,000 people have been displaced when their homes were destroyed and an additional 38,955 people have been heavily affected by the flood waters and are in need of assistance. The affected areas stretch from Herat in the west to Badakhshan in the east, with the heaviest impact in the Central Northern provinces.

The province of Jawzjan is the most severely impacted with 27,000 people affected and the provinces of Faryab and Sari Pul have also seen heavy damage to homes, public infrastructure and thousands of hectares of agricultural lands. Initial joint assessments indicated that the district of Khoja Doko in Jawzjan province has been most severely affected by the disaster. In that district alone, some 16,000 people have been affected across 21 villages. Limited access to some of the worst affected areas still remains a key challenge for humanitarian actors. The Afghan National Army (ANA) is conducting search and rescue operations in the affected areas and around 14,000 people have been evacuated from the flooded areas.

The Government’s Provincial Disaster Management Committees (PDMC) is leading the coordination of the response in the affected provinces, with support from humanitarian agencies including Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS). The UN has established an operational coordination hub in Shibirghan of Jawzjan province to coordinate efforts by the UN agencies. The Afghan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) is indicating that the government and the in-country humanitarian system have sufficient stocks to respond to the disaster. The Afghan government has committed resources form the National Emergency Budget.

Joint assessments are still ongoing, but the key priorities are emergency shelter, food and non-food items, safe drinking water, and medical supplies. The immediate focus is on the relief phase, but planning has already started for recovery and rehabilitation, particularly for the provinces of Jawzjan and Sari Pul. With thousand hectares of agricultural lands destroyed, there will be many longer term challenges. The two provinces have seen both extremes in recent years, with flash floods in 2012 and severe drought in 2011 and 2012.