| Environment

In photos: Afghans begin clean up after losing 'everything' in deadly floods

AFP


Afghans displaced by flooding eat in Arghandab District, Kandahar Province, March 3. Flash flooding killed at least 20 residents of Kandahar Province, said the UN March 2, as heavy rains swept away houses and vehicles and potentially damaged thousands of houses. [Javed Tanveer/AFP]

Afghans displaced by flooding eat in Arghandab District, Kandahar Province, March 3. Flash flooding killed at least 20 residents of Kandahar Province, said the UN March 2, as heavy rains swept away houses and vehicles and potentially damaged thousands of houses. [Javed Tanveer/AFP]


Afghans displaced by flooding eat in Arghandab District, Kandahar Province, March 3. [Javed Tanveer/AFP]

Afghans displaced by flooding eat in Arghandab District, Kandahar Province, March 3. [Javed Tanveer/AFP]


An Afghan Air Force crew member March 2 carries a baby during a flood evacuation in Arghandab District, Kandahar Province. [Javed Tanveer/AFP]

An Afghan Air Force crew member March 2 carries a baby during a flood evacuation in Arghandab District, Kandahar Province. [Javed Tanveer/AFP]


Villagers March 29 in Herat Province walk down a street covered in mud after flash flooding. [Hoshang Hashimi/AFP]

Villagers March 29 in Herat Province walk down a street covered in mud after flash flooding. [Hoshang Hashimi/AFP]


A burqa-clad woman March 29 in Herat Province crosses a bridge after flash flooding struck. [Hoshang Hashimi/AFP]

A burqa-clad woman March 29 in Herat Province crosses a bridge after flash flooding struck. [Hoshang Hashimi/AFP]


Herat Governor Abdul Qayum Rahimi March 30 visits houses destroyed by floods in northern parts of Herat city. [Herat provincial government press office/Facebook]

Herat Governor Abdul Qayum Rahimi March 30 visits houses destroyed by floods in northern parts of Herat city. [Herat provincial government press office/Facebook]

HERAT -- Villagers in western Afghanistan began cleaning up Sunday (March 31) after the worst floods in a decade swept away houses and forced many families -- already displaced by drought -- to abandon damaged homes.

Heavy rains that started early Friday (March 29) and continued for two days caused flash floods in at least five provinces in western and northern Afghanistan, killing at least 35 people.

Aside from washing away houses, the floods destroyed some internally displaced persons' shelters and cut off access to remote villages across several parts of the country.


An Afghan man helps a girl March 29 in Herat Province as she wades along a street hit by flash flooding. Flash floods caused by torrential rains have taken at least 35 lives nationwide,  washing away houses and cutting off access to remote villages, officials said on March 30. [Hoshang Hashimi/AFP]

An Afghan man helps a girl March 29 in Herat Province as she wades along a street hit by flash flooding. Flash floods caused by torrential rains have taken at least 35 lives nationwide,  washing away houses and cutting off access to remote villages, officials said on March 30. [Hoshang Hashimi/AFP]

In Herat Province, at least 10 districts and some parts of Herat city were affected.

Video footage from Herat Province showed crumpled cars buried deep in mud, collapsed walls, mud houses strewn with debris, fallen trees and residents trying to rescue whatever was left of their property from the mud.

"We have lost everything here and have nothing left to survive on," Bibi Gul, a resident of Herat who had lost her house, told AFP.

Fazel Ahmad, another resident, described a similar sense of loss.

Provincial governments have implemented a number of initiatives to help the flood victims, including evacuating those in danger and providing food and shelter.

Houses destroyed, livestock killed

"Cows, sheep and even our pigeons are under the debris," Ahmad said.

Mohammad Hanif Arbabzada said about 80% of the houses in his village were destroyed.

In all, more than 3,000 houses were either damaged or destroyed, according to Hashmat Bahaduri, a spokesman for Afghanistan's National Disaster Management Authority.

Heavy snowfall across large swathes of Afghanistan this winter raised fears of severe flooding as spring approaches, following years of devastating drought.

Earlier in March, at least 20 Afghans were killed by flash floods caused by heavy rains that swept away thousands of houses and vehicles in Kandahar Province.

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