Thursday, June 24, 2010

Killer landslide in Hindu Kush

Gulnesa Beg the only girl to survive a landslide in a village of 750 people in the remote Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan. The  monstrous landslide  killed over 350 residents, mainly women. Gulnesa is with her Father, her only relative to survive. Photo: Bob McKerrow.

On Wednesday 15 June 2010 an earthquake in West Papua, Indonesia, triggered a landslide that engulfed and killed 17 people travelling in a bus. It brought back to mind the worst landslide  I have seen that occured in Afghanistan in 1996. Here are the notes from my diary on that tragic day.

Recently I accompanied Abdul Basir on a difficult field trip to the mountain village of Qarluk in Badakshan. It took us four days to reach this village from Kabul by plane, landcruiser and the last day on foot or horse. The village of 750 people in the remote Hindu Kush had been hit some days before by a monstrous landslide that killed over 350 residents. All except three of the women in the village had been killed, along with a number of children, as they were in their homes while male members of the household were out tending animal and crops. The killer landslide silently swept down the hillside engulfing the whole village. Gulnesa Beg, the only girl to survive, was pick up by a dust and mud cloud, and hurled to safey, breaking her arm as she fell.

As we arrived in Qarluk, the survivors of the landslide, mainly men, were huddled together in an atmosphere of grief and bewilderment. Basir hugged them one by one and then spoke to them with compassion and dignity. He told them that we in the Red Cross Movement were grieving with them and that they must take heart. Basir, in his humble way, gave those men hope at a time when their whole lives had been plunged into darkness and despair.


The men who survived the landslides sit outside their tents. The village covered in mud is the light flatish area to the left of centre in the photo, Photo: Bob McKerrow


The next day, after distributing relief supplies to each surviving family, he mounted a borrowed horse and rode over a high mountain pass to two other villages in the next valley of Teshkan, where 7,000 people were under threat from a tottering mass of rock and mud high above their homes. Basir gave the village leaders support and encouraged them to evacuate immediately. Then he walked two hours along a path on the precipitous mountainside before regaining the track and his horse.
The high Hindu Kush mountains of Badakhshan from Teshkan Pass. Photo: Bob McKerrow







Abdul Bashir (left), Zalmai my interpretor (centre), and village chief (right),  riding over Teshkan Pass in Badkhshan Province in Afghanistan. Photo: Bob McKerrow

11 comments:

吳思 said...

生存乃是不斷地在內心與靈魂交戰;寫作是坐著審判自己。......................................................................

子帆子帆 said...

一棵樹除非在春天開了花,否則難望在秋天結果。.................................................................

陳慧 said...

一個人的價值,應該看他貢獻了什麼,而不是他取得了什麼............................................................

王名仁 said...

向著星球長驅直進的人,反比踟躕在峽路上的人,更容易達到目的。............................................................

宥妃宥妃 said...

好文章就值得回響,如果可以常常看到您的更新,應該是件很幸福的事情~~............................................................

LeeO_Capetillo淑屏 said...

及時行樂-快樂不需要理由..................................................................

茹希茹希 said...

德不孤,必有鄰。文不獨,必有應!............................................................

郁雯郁雯 said...

真得很不錯的blog,留言加油!............................................................

魏江伶魏江伶 said...

廢話不多,祝你順心~^^............................................................

黃沈貞儀吉軍 said...

我們這一代最偉大的發現是,人類可以藉由改變心中的態度來改變人生。.......................................................

亦奈美妮 said...

「仁慈」二個字,就能讓冬天三個月都溫暖。..................................................