At least 40 people have been killed and another 150 missing in northern Afghanistan after flash floods ravaged an area northeast of the capital Kabul, officials said Thursday.
A rescue operation was underway to find the missing people after torrential rains swept through the Kamdesh district of Nuristan province, about 200 kilometers (120 miles) northeast of Kabul.
“About 40 people died last night due to flash floods,” Saeedullah Nuristani, head of the provincial council, told AFP.
He said 150 people are still missing and nearly 80 homes have been destroyed after floods swept through the area.
Saeed Momand, a spokesman for the governor of Nuristan, gave a slightly higher death toll and said more than 60 people had died in the flooding.
Rainstorms and flash floods kill dozens of people in Afghanistan every year.
Many poorly constructed homes – mostly in rural areas – are at risk of collapsing during the rains in the impoverished country.
Dozens of people died last year after flash floods swept through parts of Parwan province.
This year’s floods come as Afghanistan was rocked by a spate of fighting that saw the Taliban launch multiple offensives across the country.
The upturn in fighting also comes as Afghanistan battles a third wave of Covid-19 that has overwhelmed the country’s rickety health care sector, while other parts of the country have been hit by a debilitating drought.