Landslide-Affected Families Moved to Safety before Afghan Winter

Date Published: 
Friday, October 17, 2014

IOM has helped a large group vulnerable, displaced families living in open spaces in northern Afghanistan to reach a safer location before the onset of winter.

A convoy of nine buses organized by IOM departed Ajil village in Yawan district of Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province on Tuesday to begin transporting the 71 families (410 people), to the provincial capital, Faizabad, where they will be provided with land and shelter.

The families had been living in makeshift shelters in open spaces in Ajil, having lost their homes in a landslide earlier this year.

IOM responded to an urgent request from the Badakhshan provincial government to help relocate the families from Ajil before heavy snow begins to fall. Without prompt action, the families would have been stranded in the village and at serious risk from the elements.

“The weather is getting very cold here and we have been living in tents,” said Mullah Shakrullah, a community leader from Ajil who was transported to Faizabad together with ten of his family members. “We sent our children to a nearby village to keep them safe, but what we really needed was to get to Faizabad before the snow comes.”

The families are being provided with land, winter-equipped shelters, food and other relief items from the government and humanitarian organizations in Faizabad.

Winter conditions in northern Afghanistan are often harsh, and are compounded by the region’s susceptibility to natural disasters, including landslides and flooding. During the first half of 2014, 21 natural disaster incidents were recorded in northern Afghanistan, affecting nearly 29,000 people.

“Winter presents significant challenges in Afghanistan, with people facing substantial risks if they don’t have access to adequate shelter,” said IOM Afghanistan Chief of Mission Richard Danziger. “The government has taken an active role in identifying and assisting vulnerable populations, and we are committed to working with them and helping to build their capacity.”

Through the Humanitarian Assistance Program, funded by USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), IOM works to reduce the vulnerability of Afghans affected or displaced by natural disasters countrywide. IOM delivers emergency relief, implements disaster risk reduction measures and provides technical support to the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA).

Video of the movement is available at http://youtu.be/-UUOLhbkXIE

For further information, please contact Matt Graydon at IOM Kabul (+93 794 100 546, mgraydon@iom.int).