At least 70 people have been killed and hundreds of houses destroyed by flash floods in northern Afghanistan, local officials said Wednesday. 

Torrential rains hit the country’s Parwan Province, north of Kabul, overnight, causing the flash flooding, according to a statement from the Ministry of Disaster Management.

The floods swept away men, women and children and destroyed 300 homes, according to
ministry spokesman Tamim Azimi.

Several children were among the dead and at least 90 people were injured. .

Casualties could still rise as rescue teams look for people buried under hundreds of destroyed homes, said a spokesperson for Parwan province Wahida Shahkar. 

Rescue operations overwhelmed

Rescue operations were underway, but provincial authorities said the destruction had overwhelmed the local capacity to help

A spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani said on Twitter that his office had ordered emergency disaster relief for survivors. The floods had caused severe financial losses, he added. 

Torrential rains and flash flooding occur regularly in Afghanistan, killing dozens of people every year.

The country was hit by particularly severe flash floods in the spring of 2019. UN figures show that the floods destroyed over 10,000 houses and affected around 180,000 people.

Poorly built housing in the country’s rural areas are particularly prone to collapsing under heavy rain. 

kp/stb (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)