Floods, Avalanche Kill 51 in Afghanistan

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Flooding and an avalanche have killed at least 51 people and destroyed hundreds of homes over the last 10 days following warm weather and heavy spring rains across much of Afghanistan, officials said Sunday.

The governor of the central Daykundi province said all the province's districts are flooded after heavy hail and rain storms on Thursday and Friday. An avalanche on Saturday also killed an unknown number of people, said provincial Gov. Sultan Ali Uruzgani.

In total, 31 people have died in the province from the avalanche and flooding over the last 10 days, he said.

"All the roads are blocked, and aid can only be delivered by helicopter," he said.

About 300 people are shoveling snow to clear a road between Daykundi and neighboring Bamiyan province that was buried under 115 feet of snow after the avalanche, he said.

In Ashtarlai and Khidir districts, a total of 781 homes were destroyed and 4,200 cattle were killed by the flooding, Uruzgani said.

Floodwaters killed eight people in Parwan, north of Kabul, where officials are using old wrecked tanks — the debris from decades of war — to shore up the banks of the swollen Parwan river, said provincial Gov. Abdul Jaber Taqwa.

Thousands of cars are stranded in areas where an avalanche has blocked at least 2 miles of roads near the Salang Pass, Taqwa said.

In eastern Nangarhar, five people were killed in floods, including three children, and dozens of people have been displaced after their homes were destroyed in Jalalabad city, said Ghafor Khan, spokesman for the provincial police chief.

In western Herat, seven people were killed, including two children, said Noor Khan Nekzad, spokesperson for the provincial police chief.

About 1,500 sheep were swept away by floodwaters in northwestern Faryab province, while several houses were damaged in the capital, Kabul.

In eastern Khost, a hail storm injured 50 children, most of whom were collecting wood and herding sheep, said provincial police chief Gen. Mohammad Ayub.

Afghanistan has endured about a decade of drought, and residents say that this year's spring rains are heavier than they've seen in years.