Years of insecurity have hampered development in Afghanistan, a country that is extremely vulnerable to hydrometeorological hazards. In the period from 1980 to 2015, the country lost nearly 15 000 lives in weather, climate and water related events. The International Disaster Database Centre for research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) reports that 4 615 of these were due to flash floods and floods, which cost the country an estimated US$ 396 million in economic losses. Associated landslides and avalanches are also a major problem.
Flash floods are among the world’s deadliest natural disasters with more than 5 000 lives lost annually. Their social, economic and environmental impacts are significant. Accounting for approximately 85% of flooding cases, flash floods also have the highest mortality rate among different classes of flooding, including riverine and coastal. Flash floods differ from river floods in their short time scales and occurrence on small spatial scales, which makes flash flood forecasting a different challenge from large-river flood forecasting.