Afghanistan

Afghanistan: Floods and Landslides - Information Bulletin n° 2

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This bulletin is being issued for information only, and reflects the current situation and details available at this time. The Afghan Red Crescent Society, with the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), is currently considering Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) request for this response.

The situation

This information bulletin builds on two earlier Information Bulletins for Afghanistan:

  • Information Bulletin for flash floods that was published on 30 April.

  • Information Bulletin for landslide that was published on 3 May.

Flooding, flash floods and landslides continue to affect tens of thousands of people in many parts of northern Afghanistan. Weather forecasts indicate that more rain can be expected. Some of the already affected areas are likely to experience more floods and flash floods in the coming days.

The current situation started after heavy rain fell across the northern region on 24 and 25 April as part of the seasonal rains. A massive landslide occurred on 2 May in Argo district, Badakhshan province. As of 5 May, a total of 419 lives have been lost. This number includes 163 dead as a result of floods and flash floods across ten provinces in the north and 256 confirmed dead as a result of the landslide in Argo district. The number killed in the landslide is likely to increase, but the authorities are now expecting that the final number will not surpass 500. Although the landslide destroyed 300 houses, many of the inhabitants, initially reported as missing and feared dead, were working on their farmlands when the disaster struck and thus survived.

As of 6 May, three additional provinces, Ghor, Logar and Kabul, have also now been affected by floods:
About 300 families are affected and one person has died as a result of floods in Ghor province, specifically in Chaghcharan, Dawlat Yar, Taywara, Charsada, Shahrak, and Tulak districts. In Logar province, 116 families were affected by heavy rains and flooding on 4 May. At least three people were killed, a total of 76 houses destroyed and 40 houses damaged. In Kabul city, on 3 May, 237 families were affected by floods. Damage included the destruction of 112 houses and partial damage to 125 houses. Additionally, flooding occurred in Shorlgara district of Balkh province where 72 houses were partially or totally damaged. At least two people were killed and 37 acres of agricultural lands destroyed. Based on the joint assessment findings, it is planned to distribute food and non-food items (NFIs) to 72 flood affected families.

On 4 May in Argo, three inter-agency assessment teams were put together to assess the needs of the estimated 700 displaced families, many of whom have been proactively displaced as a result of fear of further landslide. Access challenges at the site are now impeding the assessment of needs and the delivery of assistance. Increasing numbers of people from outside the immediate community are congregating at the disaster site. Aid agencies are increasingly challenged to distinguish between those directly affected by the disaster and those who have come from outside the village, attracted by the quantity of relief items arriving.

The number of those affected across 14 provinces (62 districts) of northern Afghanistan has now reached 90,000. Out of this number, around 20,000 are displaced, including 700 families from the villages affected by the landslide.

Forecasts indicate more rain and possible flooding in many parts of northern Afghanistan in the coming days.
Among the areas that are at risk for more flooding are the provinces of Faryab and Sari Pul that were impacted when the flooding started after heavy rains on 24 and 25 April. However, in the province of Jawzjan that has so far seen the biggest displacement of people, further flooding is not currently expected. The area in Badakhshan province, where the landslide took place, is forecasted to receive scattered rain and is at risk of minor flooding. Satellite images show that the snow cover is still between 20 and 100 centimetres (cm) in many parts of east Afghanistan, including large parts of Badakhshan province, and also west of Kabul, in the province of Bamyan. The combination of seasonal rains and snow melt has resulted in the flooding situation.

In Badakhshan, the rapid mobilisation of coordinated response and assistance has created both push and pull factors as non-coordinated entities respond to populations not directly affected by the landslide. The government has reinforced its coordination capacity with the appointment of a high-level disaster relief coordinator who arrived in Badakhshan on 6 May.

Primary focus areas remain the on-going response in Jawzjan, Faryab and Sari Pul, in addition to, managing requirements and capacity to facilitate new and ongoing assessments in the new areas affected by floods.

There are sufficient relief stocks in the country. The focus of efforts going forward will be on rehabilitation and reconstruction of the damaged houses and infrastructure, as well as securing livelihoods for those who have lost their farmland.

As Afghanistan is a heavily disaster-prone country, strengthening the disaster management capacity of the government and building stronger, more effective community disaster preparedness are clear priorities.
These are areas where good results can be achieved with relatively small investments.