The unusually frequent and heavy rain and thunderstorms of the past several weeks have created dire situations in some areas of Afghanistan.
Minor flooding was reported across the country but it is the floods in Jowzjan and a landslide in Badakhshan that have caused the most damage and loss of life.
Heavy rains caused numerous flash floods in Qush Tepa, Darzab and Khwaja Do Koh districts of Jowzjan province. Without the immediate response of Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), the toll of the dead and injured could have been many times greater. ANSF helicopters flew numerous rescue flights only metres above the swirling floodwaters to pluck survivors from the roofs of their inundated houses.
“I express my utmost thanks to the ANSF and I am proud of them. They saved our lives from floods and provided food, potable water and medicine in a cruel situation,” said Fateh Khan, a resident of Khwaja Do Koh district in Jawzjan.
The brave men of the 209th Shaheen Corps were among the first to respond by rescuing people, and according to Colonel Ghulam Haidar, they also delivered 8.5 tonnes of relief supplies and medicines to survivors.
Gul Rahim from Kunar province, who serves in the 209th Corps, with exhaustion in his eyes and in a mud caked uniform, said, “We rescued hundreds of people all day from morning to night. I promise to all my Afghan brothers and sisters that we will all help and defend people until our last drop of blood.”
The respite from natural disasters was only short lived as less than 10 days later, a landslide in Argo district, Badakhshan, covered the village of Hab Barik. The landslide was shocking and terrifying in its size and ferocity. The plight of the people of Hab Barik attracted international attention and assistance.
The remote location of Hab Barik initially hindered rescue and assistance efforts, but the efforts of the Afghan security forces and government have given support to the people of the affected village.
Again, the 209th Shaheen Corps responded, and according to spokesman Abdul Qahar Aaram, 50 emergency response team members were on the ground within hours, as well as initial delivery of 1.5 tonnes of food supplies for the suddenly impoverished and homeless survivors.
Shawaliullah Adeeb, Badakhshan Governor, has been on the scene for days assisting in the coordination of relief and recovery efforts. International aid agencies like the World Food Program, USAID and the IOM have already begun delivery of needed supplies and shelter.
“We are all working shoulder to shoulder with the ANSF and international relief agencies to help people as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Governor Adeeb said.
Afghan charity groups and civil society organizations across the country have also been collecting donations of food, money and tents from concerned citizens in all provinces.
As part of the international community effort, the Commander of the International Security Assistance Force, General Joseph F. Dunford Jr., and the Deputy NATO Senior Civilian Representative, Mr. Lee Litzenberger, on behalf of the NATO-led ISAF mission express their deepest condolences to the victims and families of the ongoing tragedy.
“Our thoughts are with the people of Afghanistan, and the families who have lost their loved ones in these devastating landslides. ISAF stands ready to provide assistance as requested to the Afghan authorities who are leading the rescue and recovery operations,” said General Dunford.