Children saved from ‘muddy graves’ in Afghan floods

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Stranded atop a mosque roof in Baghlan province, Afghanistan, three children, aged 3, 5, and 6, were rescued from the devastating floods and mudslides that swept through their area.

AFGHANISTAN, May 13: In the wake of catastrophic floods ravaging northern Afghanistan, harrowing scenes have emerged, depicting three young children stranded on the roof of a mosque in Baghlan province, covered in mud, awaiting rescue. Among them, 2-year-old Arian was gently lowered to safety by a rescuer, his tiny body enveloped in a sheet used as a lifeline from the raging floodwaters below.

The United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) reports that the recent flooding has claimed the lives of at least 300 individuals across 18 districts spanning three provinces, leaving over 200 injured. Distressing videos depict torrents of mud engulfing homes and people, while rescuers stand helpless on higher ground.

The rescued children, aged 3, 5, and 6, were part of a family of eight siblings caught off guard by the sudden deluge in Folo, Bulka district. Barakatullah, their uncle, recounted how severe winds preceded the rainfall, plunging the region into darkness before the downpour during Friday prayers.

As the rain intensified, panic ensued, with locals seeking refuge in the mountains. Tragically, many, particularly women and children, fell victim to the floodwaters. In Folo alone, over 100 casualties, mostly women and children, are feared, with burials underway amidst the devastation.

The floods exacerbate an already dire situation in a region grappling with severe food shortages due to drought. Timothy Anderson, head of the WFP in Afghanistan, described the situation as catastrophic, with survivors losing homes and livelihoods. Efforts to assess the full extent of the damage are underway, with road access cut off by floodwaters.

The impact of this disaster underscores the vulnerability of communities least responsible for climate change. Richard Bennett, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in Afghanistan, emphasized the country’s susceptibility to the climate crisis. Teresa Anderson of ActionAid International echoed the sentiment, stressing the urgent need for global action.

As Afghanistan grapples with this latest catastrophe, humanitarian efforts are underway to provide immediate relief and assess the long-term implications for affected communities. The floods serve as a stark reminder of the devastating impact of the climate crisis on vulnerable populations worldwide.

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