Flash Floods in Afghanistan Kill 80, Displace Thousands

Flash Floods in Northern Afghanistan have claimed the lives of more than 70 Afghans who had previously inhabited villages in the remote Baghlan province. The death toll, which has been estimated at between 80 and 100, has driven hundreds more from homes that have been quickly washed away by the rapid influx of water.  This past weekend’s floods represent the second such flood in two months, coming on the heels of a landslide provoked by heavy rains that killed an addition 300 people in nearby Dabakhstan province.

For villages situated in Afghanistan’s mountainous north, unreliable transportation and difficult terrain pose a variety of problems that have limited the region’s ability to develop adequate infrastructure and maintain skilled laborers year-round. The Afghan government’s own ability to react to natural disasters has been impeded by similar infrastructure problems in addition to a lack of efficiency in the country’s disaster relief organism. Stagnating bodies of water and inefficient disposal of waste materials have further drawn the attention of health organizations concerned about the spread of diseases such as cholera and dysentery, such as that of 2013.

Springtime in northern Afghanistan is characterized by flooding and landslides, and as an infrastructure problem is nothing new for the current Afghan administration. The ability to react rapidly to such crises is a capability that both of the current candidates to the Afghan presidency have promised to improve, though little in the way of concrete measures has been proposed.

News Briefs: 

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  • Iran and the United States will hold their first bilateral talks in decades, according to statements released on Saturday. The talks will take place in Geneva today and Tuesday, with a State Department Delegation headed by Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Undersecretary Wendy Sherman, who is responsible for the Iran negotiations. The discussions fall outside of the P5+1 framework of leading nations, which are still currently pursuing talks for a nuclear agreement. More on these talks as they commence.

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