tens of thousands of homeless people

The death toll rose to 300, but the Taliban are still not clear about the number of missing. Several local residents said they had lost everything, while pneumonia and diarrhea spread among children due to lack of clean water. The delivery of aid is complicated by the collapse of bridges and roads. The dry winter has made the soil impermeable and caused landslides and flooding.

Kabul () – The heavy rains that have hit 21 districts in northeastern Afghanistan since May 10 have caused enormous damage. Save the Children reported that in the province of Baghlan alone, the most affected, 40,000 children were left homeless. The death toll has risen to 300 according to estimates by the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), of which at least 51 are children, Unicef ​​added. Pope Francis also recalled this tragedy in today’s audience, and urged the international community to step up aid.

Several humanitarian organizations are working at the site, but “communications are completely interrupted and we cannot speak with our colleagues,” he explained to an Italian volunteer.

The Taliban reported that more than 12,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed, affecting some 80,000 people, but data provided by de facto authorities and international organizations differ. Bridges, roads, schools and hospitals have also collapsed. Health services were suspended in at least 11 clinics in Baghlan and Takhar provinces, which has put health centers that are still operational under pressure.

Damage to infrastructure is making it difficult for international agencies and NGOs to reach survivors. Most of Baghlan is “inaccessible to trucks”, WFP spokespersons said, explaining that they were using all possible alternatives to bring food to the victims.

In Murghab district, diseases such as pneumonia and diarrhea are spreading among children due to lack of drinking water. “We are dying, we have no escape, no bread, no water, no roof to shelter us. If we don’t get help, we will die.” said a local resident. Others said they had “lost everything in the blink of an eye: the family, the house, my possessions. I have nothing left,” said Mohammad, who has recovered the bodies of his wife and two children in Puli Khumri, provincial capital of Baghlan. “I hope someone has found my daughters alive,” he added.

The Deputy Prime Minister of the Islamic Emirate, Abdul Ghani Baradar, after visiting the affected areas on May 13, had to admit that the number of victims and the level of destruction are much higher than initially thought. In addition to the need for shelter, medicine and drinking water, there is a lack of machinery (and fuel) to remove the debris, and ambulances to transport the injured.

There have already been other disasters in the country, but in this case it has been aggravated by decades of war and the inability of the Taliban government – which came to power in August 2021 – to address climate emergencies. The spokesman for the governor of Baghlan province, Alam Majidi, stated that rescue operations continue, but the number of missing people has not yet been established and more than 6,000 families have already been displaced.

“What we ask the government is to help us. We have nothing and we need protection,” they told ToloNews some residents of Sheikh Jalal village who lost their homes. Even agricultural lands “have been completely destroyed,” they added. 80% of Afghanistan’s population, made up of more than 40 million people, depends on agriculture, but a particularly dry winter has made the soil impervious to rain, causing recent landslides and flooding.

According to United Nations data, in 2024 alone, more than 30 thousand people suffered the violent impact of floods throughout the country. Nearly 70 people died in the April floods, although the Taliban say the number is closer to a hundred.

(photo Ummay Habiba/Save the Children)

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