Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Focus now on Afghan families displaced by slide

05 May 2014, 06:49

Abi Barik - As Afghans observed a day of mourning on Sunday for the hundreds of people killed in a horrific landslide, authorities tried to help the 700 families displaced by the torrent of mud that swept through their village.

The families left their homes due to the threat of more landslides in the village of Abi Barik in Badakhshan province, Minister for Rural Rehabilitation Wais Ahmad Barmak said.

Another reason for the evacuation was the threat of flooding caused in part by the landslide itself, said Mohammad Daim Kakar, from the Afghanistan Natural Disaster Management Authority.

He said the shifting earth had made it difficult for water to drain through the valley - a serious concern as rain continued to fall on Sunday.

Engineers are working on a plan to divert the water, he said.

Help slow to arrive

Aid groups and the government have rushed to the remote area in northeastern Afghanistan bordering Tajikistan and China with food, shelter and water. But for those affected, help was slow to arrive.

"My family, my wife and eight children are alive, but have nothing to use as shelter. We have nothing to eat," said Barat Bay, a 50-year-old farmer and father of eight. "We have passed the last two nights with our children at the top of this hill with no tent, no blanket."

Kakar, who visited the area on Sunday, acknowledged that aid had yet to reach some people, but said their efforts were complicated by villagers from areas unaffected by the landslide also coming to claim the aid.

A spokesperson for the International Organisation of Migration, Matt Graydon, said the group is bringing solar-powered lanterns, blankets and shelter kits. He said after a visit to the area on Sunday that some residents have gone to nearby villages to stay with family or friends while others have slept out in the open.

"Some people left with almost nothing," Graydon said.

Authorities visiting from Kabul gave $800 000 to the provincial governor during visits on Saturday and Sunday to use in the aid effort, said Kakar and Barmak, who promised that the government would pay more if needed.

President Hamid Karzai designated Sunday as a day of mourning for the hundreds of people who died when a wall of mud and earth broke off from the hill above and turned part of the village into a cemetery.

No exact figures

Authorities still don't have an exact figure on how many people died in the landslide, Barmak said, and estimates have ranged from 250 to 2 700.

The government has identified 250 people who died and estimated that 300 houses were buried under tons of mud, Barmak said.

It will be impossible to dig up all the bodies, but many people continue to look on their own, said Abdullah Homayun Dehqan, the head of Badakhshan province's national disaster department.

He said officials met with community elders on Sunday in Faizabad, the provincial capital, to see whether they wanted the government to continue digging, but said no final decision has been made.

Afghanistan has suffered through some three decades of war since the Soviet invasion in 1979. But natural disasters such as landslides, floods and avalanches have taken a toll on a country with little infrastructure or development outside of its major cities.

Already this year, 159 people have died in April and May from flooding, the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Sunday in a statement. New waves of flooding are expected in two northern provinces, the agency said.

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...