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Last Updated: Saturday, 18 November 2006, 12:41 GMT
Many dead in Afghan flash floods
Map of Badghis province
At least 56 people have been killed in recent flash floods in western Afghanistan, officials have said.

Dozens more were declared missing as a result of Thursday's flooding around the remote town of Balamurghab in the western Badghis province.

Several villages have been washed away and thousands of homes destroyed along the Murghab river, officials said.

Nato-led troops are preparing to airlift aid to the region, much of which is inaccessible by road.

'Wounded and homeless'

"It's the things that will help people the most - medical supplies, blankets, the things that will keep them warm at night," said Nato spokesman Major Luke Knittig.

"Clothes, food, the basic things that they are going to need if they have found themselves stranded."

An Afghan health ministry spokesman told AFP news agency that a small medical team was in the area treating the wounded and homeless.

Government teams were also being sent to the area from the capital, Kabul, and adjoining Herat to assess the situation, officials said.

The heavy rains, which mark the onset of winter, follow months of drought in the west and south of the country that reportedly forced hundreds of families to abandon their land.

UN bodies have put out urgent calls for international donations to buy food aid for millions of Afghans who face shortages this winter.




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