Afghanistan: UN reports 300 deaths as floods ravage Baghlan province

The United Nations World Food Program reported on Saturday that floods in Afghanistan’s Baghlan province have killed at least 300 people.

According to social media footage depicting a dire situation with children drenched in mud being rescued by locals.

Despite the Taliban’s promise to assist, there appears to be no official rescue team present.

The affected areas include the districts of Burka, Nahreen, Tala wa Barfak, Baghlan Markazi, Dand Ghori, and the provincial capital of Pul-e Khumri. “It was 1:30 PM local time, right after Friday prayers when the flood hit,” said Gul Agha, a resident of Baghlan. “We didn’t have enough time to reach our homes; the flood caught us, and people faced many difficulties.”

Videos circulating online show numerous casualties, particularly children covered in mud being transported to the provincial hospital. Outside the hospital, families awaited the confirmation and recovery of their loved ones, fearing that the actual casualty figures might exceed official counts.

Residents report that thousands of homes and large swathes of land were destroyed, completely submerging the village of Falol in the Burka district. Conflicting reports about the death toll persist; the World Food Programme confirms over 300 fatalities, while the International Organization for Migration (IOM) told AFP that the floods have resulted in over 200 deaths and damaged or destroyed 1,500 homes.

Local sources in Falol village reported to Amu that 150 people have died and more than 100 were injured. “The heavy rain started, and half an hour later, the flood came, sweeping away six children, a woman, and numerous personal belongings including vehicles and carpets,” said a resident.

The Taliban has not provided an official death toll but stated that the Air Force and emergency response units are making efforts to assist the affected people. However, videos show residents undertaking rescue efforts themselves, and the Taliban has urged people to aid their “fellow citizens.”

As the crisis unfolds, the World Food Program is distributing fortified biscuits to the survivors. Meanwhile, fatal floods continue to affect several other provinces in Afghanistan, displacing hundreds and drawing criticism from Afghan politicians and citizens alike for the Taliban’s inadequate response.

The UN’s special rapporteur for Afghanistan, Richard Bennett, underscored the floods as a stark reminder of the nation’s vulnerability to the climate crisis, calling for immediate aid and long-term planning by international actors and the Taliban.