Afghan villagers pray at the site of the landslide at the
Argo district in Badakhshan province. REUTERS/Mohammad
Grief-stricken and desititute Afghan villagers vented
anger with their government as they scrambled for emergency
aid, three days after deadly landslides engulfed their homes.
Some 300 homes in Aab Bareek, a village in the Argo district
of Badakhshan, a remote and mountainous northeastern
province, were buried under up to 50 metres of earth and
The number of dead may never be known though U.N. and Afghan
officials have estimated fatalities at anywhere between 500
and 2,700 people.
U.N. agencies and non governmental organizations distributed
supplies, but displaced villagers complained others from
nearby areas had taken supplies meant for them.
"There is no proper plan to give aid to the needy,"
Rahmatullah, a villager who lost five family members, told
Reuters on Monday.
"People from other villages came here and receive help but
the actual needy people are ignored by the officials,"
Rahmatullah said, his creased face covered with dust as he
peered out of the tent he and his parents had been given.
Backed by their armed militia, strongmen from the dominant
ethnic Uzbek community in the area took aid delivery into
their own hands, sending truckloads of food, water and tents
to the stricken village.
In chaotic scenes, villagers scuffled in a bid to get the
rations, prompting police to fire warning shots in the air.
The aid was then sent to a dispensing centre at the
provincial capital Faizabad, two hours drive away.
Some 4,000 people been displaced by Friday's landslide, and
survivors have been warned against returning home because of
the danger of more slides.
"We must have a plan to evacuate these people to better
place, or another disaster of disease will strike," said Sham
ul Haq, a doctor working among survivors.
Survivors have been given shelter in some hundred tents
erected on a hilltop near the buried homes, Afghan lawmakers
who visited the site on Monday said they should be moved
"Seven hundred families are at great risk and the government
has done nothing so far to move them from high ground," said
Abdul Rauf Enhaam, an MP visiting the site.
"We have suggested the government move the families to empty
ground near the airport but we haven't heard anything yet.
Without international assistance, the government won't do
anything and these people will die," he added.
The Afghan government on Sunday called the landslide site a a
mass grave, but hundreds were still digging at the site on
Monday hoping of finding the bodies of their loves ones.
"Instead of giving us wheat, the government should have
brought in equipment to dig out the dead bodies," said
Habibullah, 22, who lost his entire family to the landslide.