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Bad Weather Hampers Aid To Flood-Hit Western Afghanistan

This ISAF hand out aerial photograph dated 17 November 2006 shows flooding in Afghanistan's western Badghis province. Courtesy of International Security Assistance Force and AFP.
by Staff Writers
Herat (AFP) Afghanistan, Nov 19, 2006
Dozens of people were still missing and rough weather hampered aid deliveries after heavy floods killed nearly 80 people in western Afghanistan, officials said Sunday. Fresh floods in Farah province killed 17 people on Sunday and destroyed several houses in Purchaman district, provincial police chief Sayed Agha Saqeb told AFP.

There was no further information available about the Farah floods as roads to the remote villages on a mountainside were blocked due to heavy rains, Saqeb said.

The death toll from floods on Thursday in neighbouring Badghis province rose to 62 when guards across the border in Turkmenistan pulled six bodies from the Murghab river Sunday.

The bodies were given to Afghan border authorities and around 100 people were still missing from remote Badghis, said Habibullah Murghabi, the head of a government-appointed relief committee.

Afghan authorities helped by the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and some aid organizations have been trying to reach the disaster-stricken area by air and ground to deliver aid, officials said.

But ISAF spokesman Major Luke Knittig said that the aid had not been delivered to the affected areas due to bad weather and other difficulties.

He said food, medicine and other aid packages were flown into nearby towns and were likely to be delivered to the victims by Sunday noon.

"It's not an easy operation," Knittig told AFP.

"We've delivered some 37 metric tonnes of humanitarian aid within 100 kilometers (62 miles) of the affected area. But the last 100 kilometers is difficult" because of a lack of refuelling and landing sites for the helicopters, he said.

Knittig said two ISAF helicopters had flown over the area to secure a landing site in the Murghab district badly hit by floods.

Murghabi also said that the bad weather had hampered delivery operations in the remote area.

"Due to bad weather the choppers can't fly to the area. We've got supplies in the province's center but we can't take them to the affected areas," he said.

Meanwhile, the Rural Rehabilitation and Development Ministry had sent out trucks of aid from the main western city of Herat that were due to arrive later Saturday "depending on the state of the roads."

But Murghabi said Sunday no trucks had reached the area, adding that most of the roads were under water.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Huge Aid Operation Underway As Floods, Crocs Ravage Kenya, Somalia
Nairobi (AFP) Nov 19, 2006
The United Nations and aid groups on Sunday launched a massive humanitarian operation in Kenya to assist more than 150,000 people hit by killer floods caused by unusually heavy seasonal rains. Neighboring Somalia, which is on the brink of war, the country's weak government under threat from a powerful Islamist movement, appealed for emergency international aid to help 1.5 million people affected by flooding.

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