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Floods cause destruction and displacement in Nangarhar

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JALALABAD, 23 September 2007 (IRIN) – Flash floods killed three people, displaced dozens and destroyed at least 100 houses in the Khiwa District of Nangarhar Province in eastern Afghanistan, Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authorities (ANDMA) officials told IRIN on 23 September.

“About 300 families are affected by flooding, of which over 180 have been displaced,” said Shukrullah Ehsas, head of ANDMA’s Nangarhar provincial body.

Affected people said torrential rains, not common at this time of the year, started at midnight on 21 September. About four hours later, large quantities of rainwater gushed down from the Kashmond Mountains, in the northeast of the province, towards Khiwa District where around 1,500 families live.

One woman and two children have been confirmed dead in the floods so far.

“People have lost over 100 livestock animals,” Abdul Matin Adrak, head of ANDMA, said. “Hundreds of hectares of agricultural land have also been washed away by flood waters.”

The majority of displaced people have sought refuge in the homes of their relatives or friends in nearby villages. Some families, however, spent the night of 22 September in open air, locals said.

Urgent needs

Aid organisations have dispatched assessment teams to the affected district to evaluate the situation and determine urgent humanitarian needs.

“Food is urgently and widely needed,” said Ehsas, who took part in a quick assessment mission to Khiwa District.

Flood-affected families also need non-food assistance such as tents, blankets and kitchen utensils, according to provincial authorities.

Floodwaters have also contaminated water sources, raising the risk of a diarrhoea outbreak, particularly among children and women. As such, Ehsas told IRIN that chlorine tablets and sachets of oral rehydration salts are also urgently needed.

Affected families will require long-term assistance to re-establish their lives, specialists said.

Response

The Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) said it has already provided tents and kitchen utensils to more than 50 of the most affected families.

The governor of Nangarhar Province, Gul Agha Sherzai, said they distributed 220 sacks of flour to some vulnerable families on 23 September, according to Edrak of ANDMA.

“More aid will be provided once we receive a clear picture of the situation,” Edrak said.

However, officials acknowledge that decades of war have greatly reduced Afghanistan’s capacity to manage and respond to natural disasters.

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Written by afghandevnews

September 23, 2007 at 1:51 pm

Posted in Natural Disasters

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