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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 April 2007, 07:47 GMT 08:47 UK
Afghan flood toll increases to 88
Afghan village destroyed by flooding
The floods have delighted Afghan farmers
Avalanches and floods have killed an additional 37 people in Afghanistan, taking the toll in weather-related deaths to 88, says the United Nations.

Hundreds of homes have also been destroyed after heavy rains and spring snow triggered landslides.

The UN estimates over 20,000 people across the country have been affected.

Afghanistan has been suffering from drought for most of the past decade. The rains have, thus, been welcomed by many despite the devastation.

Over 50 people were killed in November 2006 when heavy rains struck, bringing the drought to an end.

Trespassing waters

The BBC's Mark Dummett in the capital says the Kabul river is normally a feeble sight, but since Saturday householders living along its banks have struggled to keep its rising waters at bay.

The government has sent trucks to help build up defences, but all they have to work with is mud and plastic sacks.

The river has breached the embankments for several nights, flooding more houses and forcing more families to pile their possessions into lorries and head for drier ground.

A local government official told the BBC that 650 homes have been affected and many traditional mud houses had collapsed.

News agency Associated Press reports that according to the ministry of rural rehabilitation and development, 19 of the country's 34 provinces have been inundated.

'Good year'

In several parts of Afghanistan whole villages have been washed away.

Aid agencies are still trying to reach some of the remote areas.

Afghanistan has been suffering from drought for most of the past decade, which explains why many people have built their homes so close to rivers.

Our correspondent says that despite the damage, the majority of Afghans have welcomed these heavy rains.

They are looking now forward to a good year for the country's farmers.

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