Images: Kabul floods
Musadeq Sadeq  /  AP
Residents carry woods from devastated houses in Kabul, Afghanistan on Monday.
updated 4/2/2007 9:25:13 PM ET 2007-04-03T01:25:13

Avalanches and floods triggered by heavy rains and spring snow melt have killed an additional 37 people in Afghanistan, the U.N. said, bringing the weather-related death toll across the country to 88.

Nineteen of the country's 34 provinces have been inundated, according to the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, which has distributed tents, blankets and sandbags for assistance.

The once trickling Kabul river breached its embankments around 2 a.m. Monday, destroying 170 homes in the capital, said Aleem Siddique, spokesman for the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. Families were promptly evacuated and no casualties were immediately reported.

In central Bamiyan province, 60 homes were reportedly destroyed by an avalanche Sunday night, Siddique said. The area is difficult to access because of flooding, which has reportedly killed about 28, he said.

In Panjshir, north of Kabul, six districts have suffered avalanches and floods, killing nine people and destroying 40 homes.

Government officials had previously said that 51 people were killed across Afghanistan, though reliable figures on the number of victims are hard to come by because most of the hard hit areas are remote and lack communications and access.

Aid agencies are trying to reach an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 families — approximately 20,000 to 25,000 people — affected by the floods and avalanches, Siddique said.

In Parwan province, 350 people were airlifted to safety over the weekend, and the World Food Program is delivering food supplies for about 1,000 families, Siddique said.

Afghan soldiers safely evacuated 350 families from Sayed Khel district in Parwan when swollen rivers forced their evacuation, while another 33 families were given assistance in the Shin Wari district, said Maj. Christopher Belcher, a U.S. military spokesman.

In central Daykundi, about 2,500 people in eight districts have been badly affected by flooding, and "it is anticipated that more flooding is to come as the snow continues to melt," Siddique said.

The government distributed 73,000 sandbags to shore up the river banks in Kabul, and another 400,000 sandbags to Kunduz, Panjshir, Parwan, Jawzjan and Takhar provinces, the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development said.

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

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