IFRC launches emergency appeal as Hindu Kush snow-melt causes widespread flooding in northern Afghanistan

Published: 6 June 2012
Continuous rains coupled with the melting of the huge accumulation of snow across mountain ranges have triggered flooding which has swept down through valleys and innundated villages in the Sar-e-Pol province northern Afghanistan. Ali Hakimi/IFRC

Kabul / Geneva, June 5th 2012: Today the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) launched a preliminary emergency appeal of 1.15 million Swiss francs (952,000 Euros) to support an emergency relief operation that will be carried out by the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) who aim to assist 14,000 people who have been affected by severe floods in northern Afghanistan. 

In recent weeks continuous rains coupled with the melting of the huge accumulation of snow across mountain ranges have triggered flooding which has swept down through valleys where large populations are settled. By mid May, the three districts of Saywad, Suzma Qala and Kohistanat in Sar-e-Pol province were inundated.  The water flows affected other districts along flood plains in Khwaja Du Koh district in Jawzjan province resulting in mass destruction of settlements and population displacement in the Dasht-i-Leili desert.

So far, approximately 30,000 people from 80 villages are thought to be affected by the floods and over 5,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed. Red Crescent disaster response units who were immediately deployed to affected areas to help with search and rescue operations, have been able to provide over 7,000 people with supplies of food and water. Tarpaulins have also been distributed to families who were evacuated to public buildings. Some have been forced to live in open spaces.  

“We have also deployed our mobile health teams to provide basic health care to the affected population. Many water sources are polluted and people are living in overcrowded conditions where you have an increased risk from waterborne diseases such as malaria. The government hospital is now supported by our team from the ARCS Clinic,” says Mr Mohammed Naim Dindar, the ARCS Secretary General.

The appeal launched by IFRC will help the Red Crescent to provide relief and health assistance across 18 of the worst affected villages in Sar-e-Pol province over the next six months. 2,000 families whose homes have been completely destroyed will receive non-food items such as kitchen sets, blankets and mosquito nets. Up to 700 affected households will be provided with tents and tarpaulins to make safe shelters. Clean water, community health care and hygiene promotion will be provided to 2,000 families.

“Mud and debris are everywhere”, explains the IFRC’s acting head of delegation in Afghanistan, Paula Fitzgerald, “This is making access into affected areas a huge challenge. We’re also concerned that the situation will worsen in these areas and spread to new locations as the snow-melt continues and the summer rains commence”.

For more information, or to set up interviews, please contact:

In Kabul: Jonathan Wood, PMER delegate, IFRC -  Mobile: +93 (0) 700 400 962
In New Delhi – Taru Tuohiniemi, regional communications delegate, IFRC South Asia. Mobile: + 91 8130 660 555
In Kuala Lumpur – Reeni Amin Chua, communications officer, IFRC Asia Pacific. Mobile: +60 19 274 4968
In Geneva – Jessica Sallabank, senior media officer, IFRC.  Mobile: +41 799481148