World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Afghanistan: UN Visits Landslide-Hit North-Eastern Province

Afghanistan: UN Relief Officials Visit Landslide-Hit North-Eastern Province

New York, May 5 2014 - Following a visit today to the site of the massive landslide which killed hundreds in north-eastern Afghanistan late last week, two senior United Nations humanitarian officials highlighted the longer-term needs of people displaced by natural disasters in the country, as well as the need for long-term preventive measures.

Surveying the area by helicopter, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Kyung-wha Kang, and UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan, Mark Bowden, carried out an aerial inspection of the Nowabad area of Abi-Barik village in the Argo district of Badakhshan, where hundreds of people were killed on Friday morning when, following heavy rainfall, a landslide struck the province.

Afghanistan is extremely susceptible to recurring natural disasters, due to its geographical location and years of environmental degradation. Over recent weeks, it has been dealing with the impact of flooding in other northern provinces, with the total number of people affected by April/May floods now standing at 71,000, with 159 confirmed dead, in addition to those killed in the landslide.

In Abi-Barak, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), around 1,000 families are thought to have been affected with some 300 houses destroyed. Some 700 families were initially displaced, having decided to evacuate their villages as a precautionary measure. These families are largely being accommodated with host families and tents have been distributed by non-governmental organizations and UN agencies.

“The big challenges are always the logistic ones – getting access to the areas – it so happens that this particular landslide was much more accessible which allowed for a quick response compared to the flood victims where it's been much more difficult to get to,” said Mr. Bowden.

“What we’ve seen is that actual contingency stocks have made it possible to react very quickly to the immediate needs, but what the big challenge will be is responding adequately to the long-term needs,” he added.

Ms. Kang said the tragedy highlights the need for greater attention to the larger issue of the natural disasters that are so frequent in the northern part of the country – the floods, the landslides and the drought.

“This is just one part of an ongoing story so that should get much [more] attention from the international community and the longer-term attention towards greater preparedness and disaster risk reduction,” she said in the provincial capital, Faizabad, following the aerial visit.

“I think when you fly over the area itself, and see how the earth moved and the fragility of the environment here, it highlights the long-term risk to the population in this very vulnerable province and the need for long-term preventive measures,” added Mr. Bowden.

While in Faizabad, the two UN officials met with the Provincial Governor, Shah Waliullah Adeeb, and humanitarian partners active in the region, with their exchanges covering the issues of long-term needs for people displaced by natural disasters and preventive measures.

“I’d also like to put it into the context of the fact that this is the year that we’ve seen the most deaths from natural disasters for a decade in Afghanistan,” Mr. Bowden said. “The focus really has to be, in the months ahead, on how we make sure that those people who have been displaced, who have lost everything, lost their homes, are able to get back on their feet.”

For more details go to UN News Centre at


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Haiti: $5 Million To Kick-Start Aid In Wake Of Hurricane Matthew

UN emergency fund allocates $5 million to kick-start assistance in wake of Hurricane Matthew More>>


Not Helen Clark: António Guterres Favourite For Next UN Secretary-General

Former Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres has emerged as the clear favourite to become the next United Nations Secretary-General following the sixth secret ballot held today by the UN Security Council, which is expected to take a formal decision tomorrow and forward Mr. Guterres’ name to the 193-Member General Assembly for final confirmation. More>>


Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news