35 areas in Badakhshan prone to natural disasters
FAIZABAD (Pajhwok): At least 35 areas in northeastern Badakhshan province are prone to natural disasters amid troubles residents face in the wake of border closure with neighbouring Tajikistan, officials said on Wednesday.
Sayed Abdullah Dehqan, Afghanistan Natural Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) director for Badakhshan, told Pajhwok Afghan News they had identified 35 areas prone to natural calamities in Argo, Daraim, Yaftal-i-Pain, Shahri Buzurg, Arghanj Khwa, Tishkan, Yawan, Baharak, Tagab, Shuki, Khwahan and Kasham districts.
“These areas become more risky when rains continue for a long time because rains and snowfall trigger sliding of mountains and hills,” he said, asking the government to provide safe places for residents in vulnerable areas.
The official said supporting people of the vulnerable areas was beyond the provincial government’s ability. Dehqan said the government should act decisively in handling the issue, otherwise a catastrophe was possible if the issue was ignored.
However, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah, chairing a meeting of the High Commission on Managing Natural Disasters two days, discussed the vulnerable areas in Badakhshan.
Abdullah ordered members of the commission to appoint a delegation to assess these areas in the province.
In 2014, a landslide buried hundreds of people in Argo district and displaced 700 families.
In last winter, 70 families were displaced from Ajal village of Yawan district after a crack appeared in a nearby mountain.
The epicenters of several earthquakes, including a stronger one, in the last few months were in Badakhshan, where residential buildings were threatened to collapse.
In October, 2015, a 7.7 magnitude earthquake shook several parts in the north and northeastern zone of the country. At least 115 people, including 16 in Badakhshan, were killed and another 500 were injured in the quake. Seven residential homes were also collapsed as result of the disaster.
On the other hand, Governor Ahmad Faisal Bigzad told Pajhwok Afghan News that Tajikistan had closed its border with Badakhshan due to security problems. He said the border closure had created several problems for local residents.
“I have shared the issue with the president during a video conference and he promised the construction of Faizabad-Darwazaha road would be completed in two phases and Badakhshan people would no longer need to use Tajikistan routes,” he added.
Badakhshan customs director Ghulam Jailani Awlia Zada also said people fell in great trouble after Tajikistan closed its border.
However, in Kabul, the meeting of High Commission for Natural Disaster Management called the increasing security problems on the Afghan border with Tajikistan and Turkmenistan and the suspension of cooperation by the two countries as major challenges in winter season.
The commission members said Badakhshan people used to purchase needed items form Tajikistan when roads in their areas were closed by snowfall, but now they were in trouble, particularly during snowy climate.
The CEO ordered the interior minister to discuss the issue with Tajikistan and find a solution.
Tajikistan closed its consulates in Badakhshan and Kunduz provinces last month citing security concerns. The closure of the consulate and border has created problems for residents of five border districts of Badakhshan.
Meer Aqa Fazli, a resident of Shaki border district, said the prices of goods had increased multiple times after the border was closed. Giving an example, he said, seven kilograms of rice was sold for 350 afghanis before the border closure but now its price had increased to 1,250 afghanis.
He said previously Tajikistan visa would cost $80 in Faizabad, but now it cost $280 in Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province.
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