A young boy rescued from flash floods this week in Khajadukhoh District of Jawzjan Province, Afghanistan. Photo UNICEF Afghanistan
At 11am on Friday 2 May 2014 a major landslide hit Abi-Barak village in Argo district of Badakhshan province in northeastern Afghanistan. Although the exact number of casualties has yet to be confirmed, the death toll is expected to be high.
UNICEF staff visited the affected area today to assess the situation, identifying the most urgent needs and mobilizing the response for the affected families.
Andrew Morris, Head of UNICEF in northern Afghanistan, speaking to RTÉ today said, “The true scale won’t be known for a few days but our staff were on the ground today in the affected area and indications are that 2,000 people have died in this incident.
“350 families’ houses were just completely engulfed by the thick mud, up to fifty metres deep in some places, and those families are now considered to be in their burial grounds.
“Immediatley after the first landslide occured, up to 200 men from surrounding villages actually ran to start the search and rescue. The landslide than slid further, killing all of those people. Unfortunately we now have a lot of children who have lost their fathers.”
Peter Power, UNICEF Ireland Executive Director said “Our most immediate priority is to provide support for those families who are being relocated to a safer area; providing urgent psychosocial support for children whose lives have been most severely disrupted, including those who have lost parents, family members and their homes.”
The provision of clean drinking water and safe sanitation in areas to which families are being relocated is also an urgent priority that UNICEF is addressing. Once more detailed assessments have been completed UNICEF will look to provide additional support in education, health and nutrition in the coming days.
This response is in addition to the more extensive and ongoing response by UNICEF and partners to the flooding in the Northern Region of Afghanistan last week that affected approximately ten thousand families across five provinces. Flood waters destroyed homes, public infrastructure and roads. Thousands of hectares of agricultural land have been destroyed.
— UNICEF Afghanistan (@UNICEFAfg) May 1, 2014