At least 40 people were killed and 150 more went missing in northern Afghanistan after flash floods devastated an area northeast of the capital Kabul, authorities said Thursday.
A rescue operation was underway to find the missing people after torrential rains hit the Kamdesh district of Nuristan province, about 200 kilometers (120 miles) northeast of Kabul.
“About 40 people died last night due to the flash floods,” Saeedullah Nuristani, head of the provincial council, told AFP.
He said 150 people were still missing and nearly 80 houses had been destroyed after floods hit the area.
Saeed Momand, a spokesman for the governor of Nuristan, gave a slightly higher death toll, saying more than 60 people had died in the floods.
Torrential rains and flash floods kill dozens of people annually in Afghanistan.
Many poorly built houses, mainly in rural areas, are at risk of collapsing during the rains in the impoverished country.
Dozens of people died last year after flash floods ripped through swaths of Parwan province.
This year’s floods come as Afghanistan has been rocked by increased fighting with the Taliban launching multiple offensives across the country.
The spike in fighting also comes as Afghanistan is battling 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 severe drought.