Afghanistan floods kill at least 35 people
Local authorities pleaded for emergency relief for thousands of villagers left homeless by heavy rains and floods.india Updated: Aug 09, 2006 18:20 IST
Local authorities pleaded on Wednesday for emergency relief for thousands of villagers left homeless by heavy rains and floods that have ravaged several provinces in eastern Afghanistan, killing at least 35 people in recent days.
The worst hit areas are Ghazni, Paktika and Paktia provinces, where officials complained they have still received little help.
In some areas, the presence of Taliban rebels has impeded efforts to assess the damage and deliver aid.
Gen Abdul Anan Raufi, the police chief of Paktia province, said on Wednesday that 17 people had died as a result of floods in the last 10 days and 50 families had been forced from their homes. "We urgently need assistance in food items and shelter," Raufi said.
In the nearby Paktika province, 15 people died after rising waters flooded several districts, said Sayyed Jamal, the provincial governor's spokesman.
Three tons of medicines have been distributed to those affected in remote rural areas but more is needed, he said. "Rain and floods are still threatening people's lives," Jamal said.
Abdul Rahim Zareen, the spokesman for the Rural Rehabilitation and Development Ministry, said the government has responded to the crisis with "whatever we had."
"We know that whatever we have is not enough but we will do our best," Zareen said.
The presence of Taliban rebels has hampered fearful local officials from responding to the flooding in the neighbouring Ghazni province that killed at least three people and destroyed an estimated 1,600 homes last Friday.
A Ghazni resident said the Taliban control flooded areas, patrolling on motorcycles and intimidating officials.
The resident spoke on condition of anonymity because he did not want to antagonize local authorities.
"If they get 100 security forces to go with them, it will be possible to enter the area. Otherwise they cannot go or they will be attacked by Taliban," he said.
The government is resorting to an informal network of private groups and local residents to survey the damage and compile lists of the needy, said Zareen.
The US military also plans to deliver enough aid to shelter and feed 9,000 of the flood victims, a US military statement said on Tuesday.