Heavy rain and floods in Afghanistan kill 22, destroy hundreds of homes

The Taliban government is struggling to cope with the situation and will approach international relief organizations for help.

 FILE PHOTO: A displaced Afghan woman waits to receive aid supply from UNCHR agency outside a distribution center on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan October 28, 2021. (photo credit: ZOHRA BENSEMRA/REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: A displaced Afghan woman waits to receive aid supply from UNCHR agency outside a distribution center on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan October 28, 2021.
(photo credit: ZOHRA BENSEMRA/REUTERS)

Heavy rain and flooding have killed 22 people, destroyed hundreds of homes and damaged crops in Afghanistan, which is already facing a humanitarian crisis, a disaster management official said on Thursday.

The Taliban government, struggling to cope with the disaster that has affected more than a third of its provinces, will approach international relief organizations for help, officials said.

"Due to flooding and storms in 12 provinces, 22 people have died and 40 injured," said Hassibullah Shekhani, head of communications and information at Afghanistan's National Disaster Management Authority.

The rain and flooding were particularly severe in the western provinces of Badghis and Faryab and the northern province of Baghlan.

Afghanistan has been suffering from drought in recent years, made worse by climate change, with low crop yields raising fears of serious food shortages. The weather has exacerbated problems of poverty caused by decades of war and then a drop in foreign aid and the freezing of assets abroad after the Taliban took over, and US-led forces withdrew, in August.

Taliban members are seen at the Taliban flag-raising ceremony in Kabul, Afghanistan, March 31, 2022.  (credit:  REUTERS/ALI KHARA)Taliban members are seen at the Taliban flag-raising ceremony in Kabul, Afghanistan, March 31, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/ALI KHARA)

Shekhani said 500 houses were destroyed, 2,000 were damaged, 300 head of livestock killed and some 3,000 acres of crops damaged.

He said the International Committee of the Red Cross was helping and officials would approach other international organizations for help.

The international community is grappling with how to help the country of some 40 million people without benefiting the Taliban.