Displaced Panjsher families desperate for assistance
PARAKH (Pajhwok): Avalanches caused by heavy winter snow late last month have displaced about 580 families in the central province of Panjsher, with some families living under tough conditions.
Of them, 280 have lost their homes to the avalanches and the rest were forced to flee homes. The avalanches buried homes across four northeastern provinces, killing scores of people.
More than 300 people were killed in the disaster including flash floods triggered by heavy rains, with the bulk of the deaths (about 200) coming from Panjsher, where 280 homes were destroyed.
Rescuers used their bare hands and shovels to reach survivors after the heavy snowstorms, which began early Feb. 24. Snowfall from the storm was nearly three feet deep in places, and fallen trees blocked roads in the valley.
One of the displaced persons from “Tul” area of Paryan district, Qari Mohammad Faqir, is living with his family in Rokha district. He told Pajhwok Afghan News his home was among 45 others destroyed in the disaster that killed 25 people, including his sister and a cousin.
He said his family was among 10 others who migrated to Rokha district from Tul area and they all currently lived in a house having eight rooms.
He said the displaced families had so far been assisted with some food and non-food items including one blanket and tent each, but the assistance was insufficient. He said most of the families lived in tough conditions in the absence of basic facilities.
Mohammad Faqir said: “Giving only one blanket to an entire family has no benefit because every family has at least 10 members. One wonders how all these families live in eight rooms.”
“We need household items, which we lost to the disaster as currently three persons share a cup to drink tea.” He thanked local residents for providing them emergency assistance.
Another displaced person, Syed Alam, from Arghach village of Dara district, said the avalanches had killed 34 people and destroyed 30 homes in their village.
Surviving members of the 30 families have moved to different areas, said Alam, whose family is living with relatives in Kora Taz village of the town.
He said his relatives had given his eight family members a room in their home. He said they lived with their relatives like guests, but they needed assistance because they had lost everything to the avalanches. He confirmed receiving some food and a blanket in aid.
Panjsher Refugee Affairs Director Abdul Majeed Nawrozi confirmed the problems facing the displaced families and said his department and the Emergency Response Committee were trying to assist the families.
He said 152 families in Hesah-i-Doem district, 150 families in Abshar district, 158 families in Paryan and 120 families in Hesah-i-Awal district had been displaced by the natural calamity.
Of the families, 20 had migrated to Kabul, 10 to Rokha district and the rest to nearby villages. He said most of the displaced families were staying with their relatives and some in the meeting hall of the regional council in Paryan district.
Nawrozi said the Emergency Response Committee had distributed relief goods to 250 families, but the assistance had been insufficient and the families needed more assistance.
He said each family received 50 kilograms of flour, 10 kg of ghee, five kg of pulses, a 50-kg bag of rice, tea and sugar, one blanket and one tent. Relief items with the Emergency Response Committee have been exhausted and efforts are on to attract support from donors.
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