Wednesday, May 9, 2012

marriage party feared killed in Afghan flash floods


Sar-e Pol,  is one of the thirty-four provinces of politically turmoiled Afganisthan.   It is in the north of the country. Sar-e-Pul Province is situated between the central highlands and the northern Turkmen plains.  Sangcharak is one of its districts on the eastern side.  

In 1889, the failure of the South Fork dam in Pennsylvania, USA created what was known as Great flood (Johnstown Flood).  After several days of extremely heavy rainfall, the  dam's failure unleashed a torrent of 20 million tons of water.  It was a very major disaster of those times and more than 2200 people were feared killed in that catastrophe.  

That was not exactly a flash flood perhaps – theoretically, a  flash flood is a rapid flooding of geomorphic low-lying areas—washes, rivers, dry lakes and basins. It is generally associated with heavy torrential rains, storm, hurricane and even melt water from ice or snow.  Flash floods are distinguished from a regular flood by a timescale less than six hours. The temporary availability of water is often utilized by foliage with rapid germination and short growth cycle, and by specially adapted animal life.

There is news of a  flash flood sweeping  through a village in northern Afghanistan, killing 21 people, many of them members of a wedding party.  Reports state that people in Dhy Marda village in Sari Pul province were gathered for the celebration late Sunday [6th May 2012] when heavy rains caused floodwaters to rush down the mountains.  The dead included children also. There were conflicting reports putting the casualties and missing at a much higher number.  Police sources state that  45 homes were destroyed and another 150 were damaged.  President Hamid Karzai expressed his sympathy for the victims and their families, and he called on officials to do all they could to help those affected.  The president's office said floods overnight in two other districts in the province killed three people.

Further news from the region suggest that rescue is rendered difficult as the area is mountainous. Several other nearby villages have also been hit. Besides loss of human lives, people have also lost heavily their livestock, agricultural lands.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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