Downpours, floods add to suffering of impoverished Afghans

Almost half of Afghanistan's 34 provinces including Kabul and Parwan were recently hit by heavy rains and snowfall, with flash floods in some areas causing the loss of human life and property.

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People clear the ruins of a dwelling destroyed by the flood in east Afghanistan's Parwan Province, April 15, 2024. (Photo by Saifurahman Safi/Xinhua)

Standing inside his destroyed mud house and thinking about how to cope with the problems arising out of the destructive flood, the impoverished Qand Agha lamented that rebuilding his house requires at least 600,000 afghanis (about 8,333 U.S. dollars) which he does not have.

“My house has been destroyed and the people know that each house which was damaged is worth 300,000 or 400,000 afghanis, but I don’t have money to reconstruct it,” said the bread earner of a six-member family in east Afghanistan’s Parwan Province.

Almost half of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces including Kabul and Parwan have been receiving heavy rains and snowfall since Friday, which have triggered flash floods leading to losses of life and damage of property.

At least 66 people including women and children have lost their lives and 36 others sustained injury due to heavy rains and flooding over the past couple of days, spokesman for the country’s national disaster authority Mullah Janan Saeq confirmed.

More than 700 houses, according to the official, have been destroyed and 400 cattle died due to storms and floods.

“We might be forced to live under tents if our houses are not reconstructed in time. I am a farmer and could earn some 2,000 or 3,000 afghanis,” Agha told Xinhua by the ruins of his destroyed dwelling.

The country’s metrological department has forecast more rains over the next few days.

Pointing to the damaged houses, another flood-affected person Mohibullah said, “These houses have been destroyed this year due to frequent rains. You can see the destroyed houses and their owners shifted to the houses of their cousins, living with their relatives, and their clothes and appliances have been left there in houses and you have seen them.”

The majority of Afghanistan’s some 40-million population is largely relying on agriculture, livestock and gardening where any natural disaster could prove a catastrophe.

“In this house that you have visited, three or four rooms were destroyed and we cannot live there,” the dejected man said.

“We have such a family economy to rebuild our houses. If we want to rebuild our houses, we need to have 700,000, 800,000 or 1 million afghanis,” Mohibullah, a bread-earner of a 14-member family, said.

Expressing a similar feeling, another flood-affected Afghan Gul Lala grumbled, “The economy is impoverished and we cannot buy wood and rebuild a shelter. Our house is broken and could collapse at any moment and we have already shifted to another place.” (1 U.S. dollar equals 72 afghanis)

Xinhua News Agency

Founded in 1931, Xinhua News Agency is one of the largest news organizations in the world, with over 10,000 employees across the globe. As the main source of news and information for China, Xinhua plays a key role in shaping the country's media landscape and communicating its perspectives to the world. The agency produces a wide range of content, including text news articles, photos, videos, and social media posts, in both Chinese and English, and its reports are widely used by media organizations around the world. Xinhua also operates several international bureaus, including in key capitals like Washington, D.C., Moscow, and London, to provide in-depth coverage of global events.

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