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4/04/2007

Flood, avalanche toll at 150 in central Asia

Earth News
Afghanistan

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April 03, 2007
Avalanches and floods triggered by heavy rains and spring snow melt have killed about 150 people in recent days in the mountains of central Asia. In Afghanistan, the death toll reached 88 on Monday, and more than half of the country’s provinces had flooded. The government has distributed tents, blankets and sandbags to people, but aid agencies were still trying to reach an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 people in remote areas. Meanwhile, flooding and avalanches have killed more than 50 people in the past 10 days in northwestern Pakistan, near the border with Afghanistan. The toll includes 38 people who died in weekend avalanches, some of whose bodies were found Monday in the rubble of demolished homes in a remote village. And in Tajikistan, a woman and her seven children between the ages of 5 and 20 were killed Sunday by an avalanche that swallowed their home. The destruction has been most widespread in Afghanistan, where residents say this year’s spring rains are HEAVIER THAN THEY HAVE SEEN IN YEARS. The once-trickling Kabul river breached its embankments early Monday, destroying 170 homes in the capital, Kabul. Families were evacuated, and no casualties were immediately reported. In central Bamiyan province, 60 homes were reportedly destroyed by an avalanche Sunday night. The area is difficult to access because of flooding, which has reportedly killed about 28 people. In Panjshir, north of Kabul, six districts have suffered avalanches and floods, killing nine people and destroying 40 homes. Heavy rains and snow have been lashing Pakistan’s rugged Chitral district, about 170 miles northwest of the capital Islamabad, since late last week. In some areas, 6 feet of snow has fallen in the past several days. One of the weekend avalanches in Pakistan hit 26 homes in the village of Wasij, killing at least 34 people. Another avalanche hit a home in the village of Postaki, killing four. And 11 people were missing when an avalanche hit Olas village on Sunday.

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Spring, heavy rains lead to floods in Afghanistan
This week, thousands of people in Afghanistan have fled their homes due to floods that have wreaked havoc on houses, roads, farmland and infrastructure. With spring approaching, the onset of warm weather and unusually high levels of recent snow and rain have caused flooding and landslides in the southern, central and western parts of the country.
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