IOM Helps Communities in Northern Afghanistan after Devastating Floods

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IOM is responding to urgent needs in northern Afghanistan following devastating flash floods that caused widespread damage and displaced thousands of families.

Heavy rainfall in the north of Afghanistan over the past week has caused flooding across nine provinces. Initial reports indicate that at some 132 people were killed as floodwaters surged through villages. More than 16,000 families have been displaced, while the destruction of public facilities, roads and thousands of hectares of agricultural land and gardens has affected more than 39,000 people.

Working closely with the Afghan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA), IOM has conducted rapid joint assessments with the Afghan Red Crescent, UN and NGO partners to determine the most urgent needs.

Based on the findings of these assessments, IOM and its partners have begun to distribute relief supplies to ensure that displaced and vulnerable families are protected from the elements and have the basic supplies they need to survive. The kits provided by IOM include blankets and warm clothing, personal hygiene materials and kitchen sets for cooking and storing food.

To date, IOM has assisted more than 900 families (6,300 individuals) in Balkh, Faryab, and Samangan provinces, while a further 690 families (4,830 individuals) will be assisted in Faryab and Sar-e-Pul in the coming days. In addition, 1,800 relief and emergency shelter kits are ready to be distributed to flood-affected families in Jawzjan, the worst hit province.

IOM staff from other regions have been deployed to facilitate the assessments and distributions. In addition, stocks from IOM warehouses in Kabul and Paktia have been dispatched to supplement materials already pre-positioned in the north.

“The impact of this disaster has been felt by thousands of Afghan families,” said IOM Afghanistan Chief of Mission Richard Danziger. “It is essential not only that assistance is delivered as rapidly as possible to help those who have lost their homes and their livelihoods, but also that a longer term response is initiated to assist in protecting communities from seasonal flooding in the future.”

Flood protection walls recently constructed by IOM in Sar-e-Pul, Balkh and Takhar provinces successfully protected communities from the floodwaters. Additional walls are currently under construction in other locations throughout the country.

Assessments of the impact of the floods are still ongoing. IOM is closely monitoring the situation and will continue responding to needs as they are identified.

Funding for IOM’s humanitarian response activities in Afghanistan is provided by the US State Department’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).


Afghanistan is a highly disaster-prone country, with extreme heat, severe winters, landslides, mudslides, floods and earthquakes all commonplace. Infrastructure is poor, which means getting information from, and aid to disaster scenes is challenging. Houses in rural villages are built using locally available materials, mainly mud, which provides little protection. As a result, communities tend to be very vulnerable and to have limited coping capacities, which leads to disasters even in the event of relatively small hazards. The security situation is parlous in many areas, further complicating relief efforts.

Since 2013, IOM has been working through its Humanitarian Assistance Programme to reduce the vulnerability of Afghans affected by natural disasters by providing lifesaving emergency relief, as well as technical support, to the Government of Afghanistan. Within 24 hours of an incident, IOM field teams can be deployed together with humanitarian, government and local partners to rapidly assess and respond to the needs of vulnerable communities.

Richard Danziger Chief of Mission, IOM Afghanistan

For more information, please contact Matthew Graydon at IOM Kabul, Tel. +93 794 100 546, Email: