Floods: MPs ask govt to declare national mourning
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Wolesi Jirga on Saturday asked the government to declare a day of national mourning after devastating floods killed 107 people and left thousands homeless in north and northwestern Afghanistan.
Some lower house members came hard on the Emergency Response Committee (ERC) for failing to reach out to the affected families with relief supplies on time, but the ERC deputy head said they had assisted many families and the rest would be assisted soon.
The devastating floods, triggered by days of raining, left at least 107 people dead, dozens missing, thousands homeless and destroyed crops on thousands of acres of land in Jawzjan, Sari Pul, Badghis and Faryab provinces.
A lawmaker from Badghis, Safia Aimaq, told the house the Emergency Response Committee did not provide timely assistance to the affected families.
She feared the death toll could jump if the families were not provided with direly needed relief supplies.
Jawzjan MP Baz Mohammad Jawzjani said the floods had inflicted unprecedented life and property losses on the people of Jawzjan and its neighbouring provinces.
He said nearly 70 people were either killed or missing in the Darzab district alone, saying the uprooted families were provided relief supplies too late.
Aziza Jalis, who represents northern Sari Pul province, blamed the fatalities and devastations by the floods on negligence on the part of the authorities concerned.
She said the authorities had failed to carry out precautionary measures to prevent possible floods from wreaking havoc, saying hundreds of lives were lost to flooding each year.
She said 120 people lost their lives to floods in Sari Pul last year. “Sari Pul is the epicenter of floods. The yesterday flooding had started from Sari Pul, where preventative measures should be taken,” she appealed.
ERC deputy head Wais Ahmad Barmak told the house that many flood-affected families had been delivered relief supplies and efforts were ongoing to provide the same to the rest.
Without going into details, he said the assistance included food, potable water, medicines and non-food items.
He informed second Vice-President Karim Khalili would chair a meeting of the Afghanistan Natural Disasters Management Authority (ANDMA) today (Saturday) to discuss further relief supplies to the affected families.
Barmak said the United Nations had predicted heavy rains in the said provinces five months ago, but his committee did not expect such devastating floods.
He said nearly 100 people had died and missing in Jawzjan, 39 died in Faryab, 14 killed in Badghis, but there had been fewer casualties in Sari Pul in the floods that left thousands of people homeless.
First Deputy Speaker Sadiq Ahmad Osmani, who presided over today’s session, said the house would send a delegation to the affected areas.
He asked the government to declare a day of national mourning in solidarity with the flood-hit families, a call echoed by a number of lawmakers.
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