Double landslides in Argo district of Badakhshan, Afghanistan cost the lives of more than 2000 people and turned the buried village into a mass grave for victims on Friday. Following a heavy rain, the side of hill collapsed into a village, trapping 300 to 400 families. The second landslide buried more people who rushed in to rescue survivors.

The president of Afghanistan ordered Afghan officials to start emergency relief efforts immediately to reach the village. However, lack of needed equipment, facilities, preparedness for such incidents and lack of proper management in the process of helping the victims of the disaster, made the efforts slow. The remote location also hindered emergency relief efforts from NATO, United Nations, and other international organizations in Afghanistan.

Amid a slow response from officials, a grassroots effort to support the people affected by this calamity has captured the attention of ordinary Afghans around the country and in the diaspora. Youth, civil society activists, the police and army, and people of Afghanistan have spontaneously started collecting donations from all over the country to help the people in need. Many volunteered to go to the area to help the survivors. Afghan humanitarians and activists abroad are collecting donations to send to Afghanistan.

The extent of catastrophe is enormous and has affected Afghans all over the world. Aid and support campaigns have started on social networks and more people are joining by the day.

This is a unique moment. Afghanistan has come a long way over the last decade, with more Afghans taking it as a their responsibility to help fellow Afghans affected by these kinds of crises. A burgeoning civic mindedness is beginning to take hold. The sad and tragic incident in northern Afghanistan left all Afghans with much affliction, pain and anguish, but proved them as a nation ready to help and support each other when needed. This is a small sliver of hope amid such an enormous tragedy.

 

Image credit: WFP relief supplies reach Argo

 

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