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11 Nov 2007 15:14:05 GMTSource: IRIN

BADAKHSHAN, 11 November 2007 (IRIN) - Over 1,000 poor people living on the steep slopes of a mountain in Badakhshan province in northeast Afghanistan are being urged by aid agencies and authorities to move as they are at risk of being killed in landslides and avalanches.
A joint survey conducted by the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS), the UN and the provincial government found that seismic activity is creating widening gaps in the middle of Sia Shakh mountain in the Batash area of Faizabad city, the provincial capital of Badakhshan. Concerns are that this movement could dislodge large boulders which would cause severe damage to settlements below.


One solution Shams offered is the distribution of land in neighbouring provinces, such as Kunduz and Takhar, for vulnerable Badakhshi families.

Any decision on relocation and land distribution in other provinces, however, can only be taken in Kabul, the capital, and would require strong political backing in the Afghan government and National Assembly. An assessment team from Kabul is expected to visit Badakhshan province in the near future to recommend solutions after consultation with concerned community and provincial authorities, Mohammad Aslam Fayaz, deputy head of the Afghanistan Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA), told IRIN. "There needs to be a long-term solution to the problem of vulnerable families in Badakhshan," said Abdul Karim, deputy head of the UN Assistance Mission (UNAMA) in Badakhshan province, adding that any solution should entail the right to housing and livelihoods.