Afghan Flash Floods Kill 19
Many missing as rescuers search for survivors
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 20, 2012 5:25 AM CDT
An old taxi transporting sacks of vegetables navigates a flooded street after heavy rains in Kabul, Afghanistan, on April 21, 2012. New flooding yesterday has killed 19 people, according to Afghan officials.   (AP Photo/Ahmad Nazar)

(Newser) – Flood waters ravaged a provincial capital in northern Afghanistan, killing at least 19 people and destroying hundreds of homes, officials said earlier today. About 60 other people were missing and rescuers were looking for them across Sar-e-Pul, the capital of a province with the same name, said the national disaster director in the area. Northern Afghanistan gets hit nearly every spring by flash flooding from heavy rains and snow melting off the mountains. "Most of these families have lost their houses—all their property, their livelihoods," he said.

Some 1,000 houses were destroyed and 10,000 people were forced to find shelter in mosques, schools, and a teacher-training center, said the director, who added, "Most of these families have lost their houses—all their property, their livelihoods." According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance, the water rose to almost 5 feet yesterday during the peak of the flooding. The office said four humanitarian assessment teams tried to get to the city yesterday, but could not access the area. "Most of the roads are blocked by the flooding," said the deputy provincial police chief. "Hundreds of houses have been destroyed. We were able to move people to different places that we think will be safe."