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Children pulled from mud as hundreds die in severe flooding in Afghanistan


Three bewildered children sit on the roof of a mosque in Baghlan province, northern Afghanistan, their eyes blinking away mud that covers their entire bodies.

Beside them, a rescuer lowers their baby brother, 2-year-old Arian, to the rooftop, a sheet tied around his waist that was used to pull him from the raging floodwaters below.

“Take it, let’s get take off the rope from his body,” the rescuer says on the video. “Bring his mother to hold him in her arms and be warm.”

In the past few days, at least 300 people have been killed in flooding in 18 districts across at least three provinces in northern Afghanistan, according to the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP), with at least 200 injured.

Videos show raging torrents of mud washing away mud houses – and people, their limbs flailing, in the fast-moving brown current, as would-be rescuers watch from higher ground, beyond reach.

The rescued children, ages 3, 5 and 6, were among eight siblings who were at home with their parents in Folo, in the Bulka district of Baghlan, when the flooding hit.

Three children, aged 3, 5 and 6, on the roof of a mosque in Baghlan province, Afghanistan after being rescued from flooding and mud torrents.

Their uncle Barakatullah, son of Haji Wakil Besmillah, the local school headmaster, told CNN something ominous seemed to be brewing late last week when severe wind swept through the district and neighboring areas, enveloping everything in darkness.

“Visibility was so poor that we couldn’t even see each other,” he said.

Then the rain started falling gently during Friday prayers – an unusual event for locals, who say it doesn’t rain very often so high in the mountain region, home to around 10,000 people, he added.

As the rain