CHARIKAR -- Rescue workers were searching Thursday (August 27) for bodies in the debris of collapsed houses after flash floods fuelled by torrential rains killed at least 162 people in Afghanistan.
At least 100 residents died in Charikar, north of Kabul, when flooding overnight on Tuesday (August 25) caused hundreds of buildings to collapse.
Abdul Ghayor, a labourer who was working in the capital, said he had rushed back to Charikar to look for his family only to find his house had been swept away.
"My entire family is gone," Ghayor told AFP, saying 10 relatives had died and one was missing.
In parts of Charikar, anxious residents gathered to see if rescue workers using heavy machinery would be able to pull loved ones from the wreckage.
Many residents, using spades and shovels, joined in the rescue operation, clearing piles of rubble as they searched for bodies August 27.
Others stood on rooftops under continued heavy rain, holding on to their salvaged belongings.
Safiullah Safi, a community leader, said most of the houses in his central neighbourhood had been destroyed.
"It is a catastrophe here with so many people dead and missing, including many children," he said.
Officials are still assessing overall damage, but the flood destroyed about 200 houses and killed about 600 head of livestock in Parwan Province, of which Charikar is the capital, said Qasim Haidary, an Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority senior official.
About 1,000 families in the province have received food and shelter, he said, but he called on international relief organisations to help.
The Afghan National Army has begun providing food to and meeting the basic needs of the flood victims, while the US embassy in Kabul pledged its support.
President Ashraf Ghani has ordered emergency relief to be sent to Charikar, the presidential palace said in a statement.
Flash floods have killed dozens more Afghans in 12 other provinces this week, including Nangarhar, Panjshir, Maidan Wardak, Logar, Paktika and Kapisa.
At least 19 people were killed in Kabul and 30 in neighbouring Kapisa, Haidary said.
In Surobi District of Kabul Province, a flash flood killed eight people and injured 13 more, Provincial Public Health Director Khushal Nabizada said.
Torrential downpours and flash floods claim scores of lives annually in Afghanistan.
Many poorly built houses, mostly in rural areas, are at risk of collapse during seasonal rains.
Earlier this month, 16 residents, including 15 children, were killed and dozens of houses were destroyed when flash floods ravaged a village in Nangarhar Province.