BGR helps survivors of twin landslides

By May 6, 2014
Courtesy of Baptist Global Response.

Courtesy of Baptist Global Response.

Afghanistan (MNN) — A remote village in northeastern Afghanistan has been declared a mass graveyard following back-to-back disasters. On Friday, twin landslides buried at least 2,000 people in the Argo district of Badakhshan, one of the country’s poorest regions.

Baptist Global Response is sending $10,000 for emergency food aid to their Afghan partners. These churches intend to “fill the gap” until more help arrives in the hard-to-reach mountainous disaster zone.

The landslides were triggered by heavy rainfall: April/May flash flooding has affected around 71,000 people and killed another 159 throughout the country, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

“There have now been more Afghans killed through natural disasters in the past seven days than all of 2013,” said Mark Bowden, a senior UN official.

A BGR partner at the disaster site said the scene was horrific. A small boy digging desperately to find his mother. A man was weeping by a hole that had yielded three bodies, and still held five more. A mountainside house on the opposite side of the valley was destroyed when the mud “climbed the mountain for it.” The first landslide occurred during a wedding celebration.

Survivors “are all traumatized and wandering around like they have seen the end of the world,” the partner reported.

In addition, Friday is to Muslims what Sunday is to Christians: a day for rest and for worshiping God with fellow believers. As a result, most families in the village of Ab Barak were at home when the first landslide struck, burying over 2,000 alive. Hundreds of people met a similar fate when they rushed to help victims buried in soft mud and the second landslide struck.

Following a national day of mourning on Sunday, BGR pledged its help to partners in Afghanistan. The first step of assistance is a cooked meal for some 2,500 survivors.

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BGR comes alongside churches in Afghanistan through projects like clean water wells, job skills training, and emergency relief aid; each effort revolves around bringing the hope of Christ to a resistant nation. As believers come to the aid of disaster survivors, pray for opportunities to share the Gospel.

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