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IRIN, April 29, 2009

Thousands affected by floods, landslides, earthquakes in Afghanistan

Over 2,000 families were also affected by floods in Herat Province, (western Afghanistan); about 800 families were hit in Badghis Province (northwestern Afghanistan); and hundreds more were affected in several other provinces, Henry said.

Flash floods, landslides and earthquakes in different parts of Afghanistan in the last 10 days or so have damaged thousands of houses, killed hundreds of livestock and made thousands homeless, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has said.

Quake destruction in Eastern Afghanistan
The aftermath of the quake in Eastern Afghanistan (Photo: AFP)

At least 15 people lost their lives and over a dozen of others were injured by floods in Herat, Badakhshan, Parwan, Faryab and Takhar provinces over the past two weeks, according to the Afghanistan National Disasters Management Authority (ANDMA).

“In Balkh Province [northern Afghanistan] about 1,500 families need emergency assistance,” said Sheilagh Henry, an OCHA field coordinator.

Over 2,000 families were also affected by floods in Herat Province, (western Afghanistan); about 800 families were hit in Badghis Province (northwestern Afghanistan); and hundreds more were affected in several other provinces, Henry said.

“The priority is to save lives,” she said, adding that immediate life-saving aid had reached many affected people.

Food, drinking water, shelter and healthcare are among the most urgent needs reported from the affected areas.

A major concern is the depletion of relief stocks across the country, and the government has called for pre-positioning of assistance items in expectation of more flooding in the near future, OCHA said in a report.

Aid agencies are also concerned that more rainfall and rapidly melting snow will exacerbate the situation.

Nangarhar quake update

Meanwhile, short-term humanitarian relief has been distributed to hundreds of families in the eastern province of Nangarhar, where hundreds of people were affected by two earthquakes - of 5.5 and 5.1 magnitude on the Richter scale - on 16-17 April, OCHA said.

Twenty-two people were killed, 59 were wounded and 650 families lost their homes as a result of the quake in Sherzad District, OCHA reported.

The loss of hundreds of livestock is an additional burden on local people who already face chronic food insecurity, Henry said.

Government officials said efforts were under way to help quake-affected people to rebuild their homes and resume a normal life.

Category: Poverty, Healthcare / Environment - Views: 6539