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Editorial: authorities culpable for deadly flash floods

In an untoward misery, heavy flash floods hardly hit northern and eastern parts of Afghanistan. At least 80 people have been reported killed so far and another 105 injured in rain-induced floods in central Parwan province. Meanwhile, two persons have been killed and seven people, including two women, have been injured and over 50 homes destroyed as a result of flash flood in central Maidan Wardak province. The death toll and casualties are going to rise as some people are still reportedly trapped under rubble. Unfortunately, in addition to displacing thousands of people, hundreds of residential houses have been destroyed, as well as agricultural lands and crops devastated as a result of the worst flooding ever triggered by seasonal rains. At this juncture, to avert further repercussions of the floods, the State Ministry for Disaster Management (SMDM) should swiftly get into action and send rescue teams into the hardly-hit scenes to locate people. Since highways have been blocked, airlifting and air operations should be arranged to rescue people. Besides, emergency assistance from international aid organizations must be provided and dispatched – especially the onus is on International Rescue Committee to respond to this humanitarian crisis. On the other hand, SMDM is culpable and bears complete responsibility for this disaster. Having the primary mandate for establishing an effective system for strengthening of areas and communities against disaster risks and reduction of vulnerabilities, the ministry has failed to discharge its duty and it seems containing the incident is totally out of its capacity. It lacked a proper contingency planning and in an utterly lame move, it had only warned residents of possible flooding in the region with a social media alert late on Tuesday. However, warning people carelessly doesn’t suffice doesn’t suffice, there should have been plans taken at hand because it’s common knowledge that such disasters and inundation occur on an annual basis. The government knows summer often brings heavy rainfall in northern and eastern Afghanistan, leading to floods that leave hundreds dead every year. Therefore, it seems there has been an extreme negligence on the government’s part. To redress its mistakes, there should be now all-out efforts made in collaboration with international organizations. Measures should be put in place in order to assist the affected people; protect the vulnerable and help the ravaged societies build resilience through offering abundant emergency aids.

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