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Raging Rains Turned Afghan Lives Upside Down

Unseasonal heavy rains in many parts of Afghanistan killed dozens of people and destroyed homes and croplands.

KABUL - Since the start of August 2013, unseasonal heavy rains followed by flash floods hit several provinces in central, east and southeastern Afghanistan – including Kabul, the country’s capital. The severest flood, which inundated Surobi district in Kabul on the 3rd of August, left 30 people dead and completely destroyed more than 450 houses, crops and community infrastructure such as schools, clinics and wells.

WFP immediately responded with a two–month food ration consisting of wheat, pulses, oil and salt for more than 500 flood-affected families. Other humanitarian agencies distributed items such as tarpaulins, blankets, tents and kitchen sets.

Car and home destroyed by the floodProperty and croplands destroyed by the flash floods.

Sixty-eight year old Mohammad Bassan from Surobi District was at home when the rain first started. He and his neighbors went to watch the floodwaters surging up the village gully. Soon after, he realized that the water level was rising quickly.

“I saw the water rushing over the roof of the village clinic. When I came home, I saw that our house was also starting to fill with water. Fortunately, I managed to rescue all my kids,” said Bassan.  “Another boy was washed away but thankfully rescued by the Afghan National Army rescue team”.

Not everyone was as lucky as Bassan or the little boy though.

Mohammad Islam, another resident of Surobi District, lost 13 members of his family to the floods. Only his mother, who was rescued by his elder brother survived. His brother, unfortunately, also drowned when he returned to rescue their other family members.

“I didn’t know that my entire family was killed in the flash flood. When I arrived in Kabul from my job in the southern part of the country, I was told this shocking news. When I came home there was no one left – none of my brothers, sisters and the kids – except my mom,” he recounted painfully.

Government figures estimate that, across the country, 112 people have been killed by the flash floods, with many others still missing.