Building a Safer Community
Posht Koh Molla Yasin village sits along the Hari River in Herat’s Injil district. Peaceful and idyllic among the low mountains for most of the year, the village can suddenly become treacherous when heavy rains fall in the winter and cause the river to spill over its banks.
Because of the seasonal risks posed by flooding to the village’s homes, crops and livestock, Posht Koh Molla Yasin was selected by IOM and the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Agency (ANDMA) for targeted assistance under IOM’s natural disaster response program.
Working together with community members and the local authorities, IOM and ANDMA provided training on how to reduce the risk of natural disasters, establish early warning mechanisms and what to do when a disaster strikes.
On 18 February 2017, this training was put to the test. A large storm inundated the village and the river began rising to dangerous levels.
Drawing on the skills acquired through their training, the community knew the warning signs for flooding, and were able to quickly alert residents whose homes and crops were at risk. If the water continued to rise, families knew they could go to safe points that had been pre-established on higher ground.
Fifty members of the community came together to dig channels to divert the floodwater, and eventually the crisis was averted.
To ensure that the community is permanently protected from future floods, IOM constructed a 277 meter flood protection wall along the river banks. As of March, it has already kept the village safe from two floods, and with simple maintenance it will continue to serve the community for years to come.