- Flash floods in northern Afghanistan killed at least 14 people, and an earthquake that struck the northeast and neighboring Pakistan on Wednesday left 11 people dead and scores injured, officials said.
The flooding deaths occurred in Balkh province, where heavy rains on Tuesday sent deluges down hillsides of villages in the remote districts of Kishindih, Sholgara and Nahri Shai. Five people were missing, 1 795 families were displaced from their homes, and many livestock died, said two local officials.
In its preliminary report, the U.N. said flooding also closed major roads in Balkh.
“All of our livestock and homes were destroyed,” Ghulam Sakhi, a resident of a village in Sholgara district, told AP Television News. “The flooding was so strong we couldn't do anything.”
On Wednesday morning, heavy rains caused similar flash floods in Sari Pul, the neighboring province to the south, damaging more than 100 homes, said the United Nations, which was coordinating disaster relief across both areas.
The quake caused casualties in two neighboring provinces of Afghanistan that border Pakistan.
In Nangarhar province, at least 10 people killed and 110 were injured, and about 100 houses destroyed or damaged, said the provincial governor's spokesman, Ahmad Zia Abdulzai.
In Kunar province, one person died, three were injured and dozens of houses were damaged, said Asadullah Faseli, a local health department official.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicenter of the magnitude-5.7 earthquake was 11 kilometers (7 miles) south of Mehterlam, the capital of Laghman province. The temblor had a depth of 66 kilometers (41 miles), the geological survey said.
It was felt in Kabul, many parts of eastern Afghanistan, and as far away as Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. There were some reports of minor damage in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province.
Earthquakes are common in northeastern Afghanistan, and many occur in the Hindu Kush and broader region as a result of the collision of the India and Eurasia continental plates.
Many homes in rural Afghanistan are built of mud or stone and are easily washed away by flooding. Northern Afghanistan has experienced an unusually wet winter, with heavy snowfalls and rains. Dozens of people died of flooding last spring in northern Afghanistan. - Sapa-AP