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Flash floods kill 58 in eastern Afghanistan

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August 4, 2013 09:43 AM EST | AP

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KABUL, Afghanistan — Heavy rains swept across eastern Afghanistan, leveling homes and killing at least 58 people in five provinces, while an estimated 30 others remain missing, officials said Sunday.

Provincial spokesmen in Nangarhar, Kabul, Khost, Laghman and Nuristan said that all the floods struck early Saturday. Flash floods are common in those provinces and all are fed by rivers that eventually intersect in Nangarhar.

In Kabul's Surobi district, police chief Shaghasi Ahmadi said 34 people were killed in a remote and mountainous area. He said 22 of the bodies from Surobi were later found downstream in Laghman.

Surobi has a number of rivers running through it. It is also rife with Taliban activity.

Ahmadi said food, tents and other emergency supplies were being sent to the district from the capital.

Downstream in the adjacent province of Nangarhar, a government statement said 17 people were killed by the floods.

President Hamid Karzai's office said another seven died in Khost and Nuristan.

Rains quickly can weaken the structures of the mud-walled homes that dot the countryside in Afghanistan, causing the buildings to collapse during heavy downpours. In neighboring Pakistan on Saturday, the same storm system brought heavy rains that caused more than 100 homes to collapse and caved in a factory wall, killing at least 14 people.