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Amid intense drought, deadly rains lash Afghanistan

AFP  |  Kabul 

Torrential rainstorms have lashed drought-stricken in recent days, bringing widespread flooding that has killed at least five people and washed away homes including in the capital Kabul, officials said Tuesday.

While some welcomed the wet weather after the punishing dry spell of recent years, residents complained about the lack of infrastructure and government assistance to help them clear up from the deluge.

Sixteen of Afghanistan's 34 provinces were hit in the past 24 hours, destroying or damaging hundreds of houses and sweeping away livestock, said Hashmat Bahaduri, a for (ANDMA).

Hardest hit was province in western Afghanistan, where at least five people were killed when their houses collapsed, Jilani Farhad, a for the said.

Officials were also searching for 17 people whose minivan was swept away by flooding in the province's Obey district late Monday, Farhad added.

"There were women and children in the vehicle, we are searching but haven't found any sign of them yet," he said.

Extraordinary scenes played out in the capital, where the usually parched River swelled suddenly, bursting its banks in places and swamping surrounding streets and neighbourhoods with about three feet of water in places.

Drug addicts who normally spend their time in the riverbed or hiding under bridges could be seen openly smoking opium at street level as water swirled around them.

By Tuesday, authorities were warning locals living along the river to be prepared to evacuate their homes as water levels surged.

Bahaduri said 113 houses had already been partially or completely destroyed in

In the capital, a university student named bemoaned a lack of drainage canals, but others welcomed the rain.

"It is a bliss to have all this water and rain, we are thankful to God to have rain and get rid of the drought problems," resident told AFP.

Years of dry weather, combined with a booming population and wasteful consumption, have drained Kabul's water basin, forcing residents to drill ever-deeper wells.

This winter saw heavy snowfall across parts of Afghanistan, which had led to floods in the spring melt.

Over one hundred people had been killed as of March 28 due to flooding in so far this year, according to ANDMA.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, April 16 2019. 18:55 IST
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