Search for bodies as Afghan floods kill more than 160
A villager stands next to a destroyed motorbike as residents gather among the debris of their houses after a flash flood affected the area at Sayrah-e-Hopiyan in Charikar, Parwan province. AFP
Rescue workers were searching Thursday for bodies in the debris of collapsed houses after flash floods fuelled by torrential rains killed at least 162 people in Afghanistan.
At least 100 people died in the city of Charikar north of Kabul when flooding overnight on Tuesday caused hundreds of buildings to collapse.
Abdul Ghayor, a labourer who was working in the capital, said he had rushed back to Charikar to look for his family only to find his house had been swept away.
"My entire family is gone," Ghayor told AFP, saying 10 relatives had died and one was missing.
Many residents, using spades and shovels, joined in the rescue operation, clearing piles of rubble as they searched for bodies on Thursday.
Safiullah Safi, a community leader, said most of the homes in his central neighbourhood had been destroyed.
"It is a catastrophe here with so many people dead and missing, including many children," he said.
Qasim Haidary, a senior official from the ministry of disaster management, said the extent of overall damage was still being assessed, but about 200 houses had been completely destroyed and 600 livestock killed in Parwan province, of which Charikar is the capital.
He said about 1,000 families in the province had been given food and shelter but called on international relief organisations to help.
Flash floods have killed dozens more people in 12 other provinces of the impoverished country this week.
At least 19 people were killed in Kabul and 30 in neighbouring Kapisa, Haidary said.
Torrential downpours and flash floods kill scores of people in Afghanistan every year.
Many poorly built homes, mostly in rural areas, are at risk of collapse during the rains.