Afghanistan: Heavy rains continue in Badakhshan

News and Press Release
Originally published
ISLAMABAD, 17 May (IRIN) - Heavy rains continue to flood districts in the northeastern Afghan province of Badakhshan, which could cause considerable damage if prolonged, a UN official told IRIN on Friday. "It has been raining heavily for the past three days," UN resident coordinator for Badakhshan, Paola Emerson in the provincial capital Faizabad said. Although there had not been any significant damage or injuries reported in the affected areas, Emerson warned that the situation could worsen.
Up to 100 houses were damaged by bad weather in the districts of Teshkan, 90 km west of Faizabad, Khash 40 km southeast of the town, and Argu, which is adjacent to the provincial capital. "Access is a big problem as roads are being blocked off for several hours, making it difficult for us to move around," she maintained.

The main NGOs providing emergency assistance such as food and tents in the districts are Shelter for Life, Concern and Focus. However, Emerson raised concerns over the fact that many emergency response projects had moved out of Faizabad, following the fall of the Taliban, which could leave the province short of resources in the event of a serious natural disaster.

During the rule of the Taliban, Faizabad was the only province which was not controlled by the brutal regime. The rains come at a time when Afghanistan has been suffering from a devastating three-year drought which has destroyed thousands of hectares of land, particularly in the north, known for being the bread basket of the country. "The is the most rain in the period of one month this region has had in 30 years," she explained. Although this was much needed rain, the after affects could leave many farming communities in the same position they were in during the dry spell.

The northern Afghan province of Takhar was also lashed by heavy rains, which claimed 30 lives, according to a statement issued on Thursday by the UN. Some 120 families were forced to leave the districts of Pengani and Rustaq following a landslide, said Manoel de Almeida e Silva, Spokesman for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan.

The farming community was hit hard with approximately 562 hectares of wheat-cultivated land destroyed and 2,000 cattle lost. Further flooding in the village of Bilkashan, inhabited by 325 families, destroyed some 40 houses and made another 30 uninhabitable.


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