Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Afghanistan landslide kills at least 52.

Fifty two people have been confirmed dead after a landslide struck a remote village in the Khawahan District in Badakhshan Province in northeastern Afghanistan, close to the border with Tajikistan, early on Tuesday 28 April 2015. The deaths of twenty five women, twenty two children and seven men have been confirmed, though as ninety seven houses have been buried it is likely that the death toll will rise sharply.

The approximate location of the 28 April 2015 Badakshan landslide. Google Maps.

Landslides are a common problem in the northeast of Afghanistan, particularly in the moonsoon season and during the spring thaw, both of which are prone to causing flooding. Landslides are a common problem after severe weather events, as excess pore water pressure can overcome cohesion in soil and sediments, allowing them to flow like liquids. Approximately 90% of all landslides are caused by heavy rainfall. Badakhstan is thought to be particularly prone to such events, both because it is extremely mountainous, and because it is one of the poorest and least developed in Afghanistan, with little infrastructure to provide protection against geohazards or provide support when they occur.

The situation has been made worse during the prolonged conflicts with first Soviet occupiers and then American led Western forces, which led to the collapse of the coal mining industry in the province, causing people to turn to wood as a fuel for cooking and heating homes. This has in turn led to severe deforestation in many areas, worsening the risk of landslides as the tree root system, which helps to stabilize soils on steeply inclined hillsides, starts to break down.

See also...

The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 5.8 Earthquake at a depth of 97.2 km in southern Badakshan Province, Afghanistan...


Seventy three people are known to have died and around 200 more are still missing following a series of flash floods in the Guzargah-e-Nur District of Baghlan Province, Afghanistan, overnight between Friday 6...

It is feared that over 2500 people may have died following two landslides in Badakhshan Province in northeast Afghanistan on the morning of Friday 2...


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