Afghanistan

Afghanistan: Floods and avalanches OCHA Situation Report No. 1

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published
This situation report is based on information received from UN Humanitarian Coordination Unit Office within UNAMA in Afghanistan

SITUATION OVERVIEW

1. Heavy rains, aggravated by rapidly melting winter snows, have caused destructive flooding across Afghanistan since early March. The disasters have killed at least 83 people and damaged hundreds of houses across a third of Afghanistan's provinces. Relief efforts target an estimated 4,000 - 5,000 families (between 20,000 and 25,000 persons) affected by floods and avalanches. Floods have hit the capital, Kabul, and cut off major highways, hampering relief efforts. The recent heavy snowfall and torrential rains across Afghanistan have stopped, though the forecast is for more rains.

2. The northern region has been also hit by flash floods and avalanches. On 21st March flash floods hit Faryab province damaging 36 houses. About 16 people are missing in the northern province of Badakhshan, hit by an avalanche on 28th March. However, the extent of damage and the exact number of casualties is not yet known., as access has been difficult . Elsewhere in Shiwa and Zebak districts of Badakhshan province, avalanches and floods have killed 13 and wounded three.

3. In the eastern region, the Laghman province was hit by floods on 24th March, causing damages in remote districts. Field assessments, conducted by the Afghan Red Crescent Society's (ARCS), Laghman branch, indicated that eight children were killed, eight people injured and 225 families (approximately 1,500 persons) affected. A total of 225 houses have been damaged, of which 78 completely destroyed.. Floods in three districts in Nangahar province affected a total of 99 families. In Kunar province, 13 people have been killed and more than 1,100 houses damaged by floods, according to the Governor.

4. The western provinces of Heart, Badghis and Ghor, the southern provinces of Helmand and Uruzgan and the central regions of Ghazni and Daikundi have also been flooded. Field assessments by the ARCS and the government are ongoing. An estimated 10,423 families (approximately 79,000 people) have been affected, according to initial field surveys.. A non specified number of affected people has been identified in Heart province, Gulran district, and in Karta area. Six people have been killed and up to 1,700 houses destroyed in the Gulran and Chusht districts of Herat province according to the Afghan Red Crescent Society. Other provinces affected by flooding include Panjshir, Kapisa and Khost. Lack of access is impairing efforts to reach affected communities and oprations are currently underway to clear roads and open access. In Panjsher province, avalanches and floods have affected six districts with early assessments indicating 9 deaths and 40 homes destroyed. Lastly, four districts in Badghis have sustained serious flood damage affecting around 900 families (approximately 6,300 people).

5. In Kabul, the water level has breached the embankments of the Kabul River. Around 170 houses have been destroyed. Due to prompt evacuation of the affected families no casualties have been reported. An assessment of needs is currently taking place to meet the pressing humanitarian needs of some 1,100 families (approximately 7,700 persons). Some 240 houses were destroyed.

6. In addition to Kabul, in central Afghanistan, the most severe flooding is in Shin Wari and Sayed Khel districts in Parwan province. Four deaths were reported. In Bamiyan, following flooding, which claimed the lifes of 28 people, sixty homes were destroyed by an avalanche on 1 April..Eight districts have been badly affected by flooding in Daikundi province with around 2,500 affected families (some 17,500 people) and it is anticipated that more flooding is to come as the snow continues to melt. On 31 March, 14 people were killed and 12 others injured as flood waters washed two districts in the central province of Dai Kundi, according to Afghanistan's Department for Disaster Preparedness (DDP).

7. In the South, in Helmand, there are concerns about the level of the Kajaki dam. In addition to the flooding of the Helmand River, the level of the dam has risen to 77m, with 79m being close to maximum capacity. The situation is being monitored closely by UNAMA, with technical expertise being sought.

8. Besides human casualties, tens of thousands of hectares of agricultural land have been damaged in many parts of the Afghanistan just as crops are due to be planted. Hundreds of families have also lost livestock. Over 300 km of roads have been destroyed throughout the country.

NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE

9. The Government of Afghanistan has declared humanitarian emergencies in 13 of its 34 provinces and has requested urgent assistance from the international community. Efforts are led by the Provincial Disaster Management Committees, UNAMA, UN agencies and international NGOs under the leadership of Vice President Khalili and the National Emergency Response Commission (NERC).

10. Assessments and assistance is on going. WFP, UNHCR, IOM, UNHCR, UNICEF, the Afghan Red Crescent Society, Care and NRC are all responding with food, shelter and other vital assistance for the affected families. UN agencies and other relief organisations have already delivered foodstuffs, blankets, medicine and tents to many affected Afghan families while scaled-up operations are planned. The World Food Programme has already pre-positioned around 350,000 tons of mixed foods in five locations around the country for rapid deployment to the most vulnerable families.

11. The Government of Afghanistan requested help from ISAF forces to evacuate 350 people from the rising waters and assist 2,500 people displaced by the flooding.. The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force has offered assistance in the form of aerial assessments and rescue operations.

12. No funding or other assistance from donors is requested at this time and UNAMA is monitoring the situation closely.

13. This situation report, together with additional information on the current crisis is also available on http://www.reliefweb.int

MAP: Afghanistan: Floods - Situation Map

Contact Details

Desk Officer (New York) Ms. Heidi Kuttab, Tel: +1-917-367-33 65

Desk Officer (Geneva) Ms. Nalah Rifai, Tel: + 41-22-917-3194

Regional Office (Dubai) Ivo Freijsen, Tel: +971-4-368-1021/22

Press contact:
(NY) Ms. Kristen Knutson Tel: +1-917-367-9262
(GVA) Ms. Elizabeth Byrs Tel: +41-22-917-2653

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.