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Aid Rushed to Afghanistan Flood Victims

June 19, 2005|From Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan — Airplanes loaded with food, tents and other emergency supplies rushed to northern Afghanistan on Saturday after floods left dozens dead and thousands homeless, officials said.

About 700 homes and several roads have been washed away in floods over the last four days, said Abdul Majid, the governor of Badakhshan province, which was hit the hardest.

As many as 50 people were believed to have been killed across northern Afghanistan. In Badakhshan alone, Majid said, at least 25 people were believed dead; an official with a government disaster management team in the capital said the province's toll was thought to be 36.

Martin Battersby, a United Nations spokesman in Kabul, said three teams of U.N. and government officials were surveying the area by helicopter and road.

"Initial assessments suggest this has been a serious flood," he said.

Two planes loaded with relief aid flew to the region Saturday, and additional aircraft were to join the airlift in the next few days.

"We are in need of emergency help. We need 4,000 blankets, 1,000 tents and lots of food," Majid said.

He said heavy rains had pounded the region for four days and low-lying areas also were flooded by runoff from the mountains. The U.N. World Food Program said much of the damage was caused by a hailstorm Thursday.

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