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Many still missing in floods, 40,000 affected

Many still missing in floods, 40,000 affected

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Apr 28, 2014 - 23:01

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): A UN agency on Monday said many people were still missing and authorities and aid agencies were trying to assess the damage caused by Friday’s flash floods and provide aid to survivors.

More than 120 people have reportedly died and tens of thousands forced from their homes, aid agencies and the United Nations said.

Triggered by several days of heavy rainfall, the floods washed away houses and roads and destroyed crops in parts of six provinces - Jawzjan, Faryab, Sar-i-Pul, Balkh, Samangan and Takhar.

The UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA): "The foremost priority at the moment is saving lives.”

“ Whilst search and rescue operations continue ... assessments in flood-hit areas have been initiated to determine the full extent of the damage caused, as well as responding to the immediate needs of the population," said a statement from OCHA.

"With some areas still difficult to access, it may be some time yet until a clear picture of the full extent of the damage is known."

Aid workers said Afghan army helicopters had been evacuating people to safer areas on higher ground. Some of the displaced had taken refuge in madrassas while others remained living out in the open.

The charity Save the Children estimated that at least 40,000 people - 25,000 of whom were children - had been affected by the deluge which began last week.

It said there was an urgent need for clean drinking water, medicines, food rations and emergency shelter materials such as tarpaulin sheets.

"It was fortunate that our warehouses were so close to the worst-affected areas, so that we were able to respond as quickly as we have to assist the worst-affected children and their families," said Onno van Manen, Save the Children's Afghanistaninfo-icon director.

"But more help is needed. At least 1,000 houses have been completely destroyed, which means many children are without a roof over their heads, hot food from their homes and a blanket to make them feel safe them at night."

The northern region of Afghanistan is prone to natural disasters, where seasonal rains and spring snow melt regularly result in life-threatening flash floods.   

Meanwhile, a Turkish humanitarian relief agency said it had sent aid to 750 displaced families in Afghanistan and was planning to supply medicine and medical equipment.

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