Tearfund partner provides aid to Afghan landslide village ‘covered in mud’

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Survivors of a landslide disaster that killed over 2,000 people in a remote mountainous area of Afghanistan are receiving aid through a Tearfund partner organisation in the region

Heavy rainfall triggered the collapse of a mountainside which obliterated 300 homes in Aab Bareek, a village in the Argo district of the north eastern province of Badakhshan. The exact death toll from two landslides in close succession is unknown but estimates range up to 2,700 people. The site has been declared a mass grave and the search for survivors has been called off.

A team supported by Tearfund is providing food water and shelter to survivors. A spokesman said, ‘What I saw was beyond imagination – an entire village covered in mud.

‘I met a woman, maybe in her 60s, who said that all her seven sons had come from the neighbouring village to help in the rescue after the first landslide. Every one of them was lost when the second landslide struck.

‘I saw people on the mountains just crying, looking toward the buried village, knowing their relatives were under all that mud and there was nothing they could do. This is a very poor place. Villagers told me they have always known this is a risky place to live, but said they had no other option as they have no land or money to relocate.’

Around 4,000 villagers are homeless after the landslides and have been warned not to return to the area in case there are further earth movements.

Bruce Clark, Tearfund’s Country Representative for Afghanistan, said, ‘Over recent weeks, northern Afghanistan has suffered heavy rains which have caused flooding affecting tens of thousands of people. Tearfund and two partners were already responding to flash flooding in Jawzjan and Faryab provinces before this latest disaster struck.

‘This landslide highlights the vulnerability of the region, which is at risk due to environmental degradation, and underlines the importance of Tearfund’s work to reduce the impact of disasters.

‘I’d urge people to pray for the recovery of survivors and for our efforts to get help to those most in need.’