Clash at site of Afghanistan landslide over aid
ABI BARIK, Afghanistan (AP) — Police clashed with people collecting aid Tuesday at the site of a massive landslide in northeastern Afghanistan, with police firing into the air to disperse the crowd, said officials.
No one was wounded in the incident, said provincial Chief of Police Faziluddin Hayar. He said a crowd of people had rushed toward a truck carrying aid for the victims of last Friday’s landslide.
In Associated Press video footage of the incident the sound of rapid gunfire could be heard as people hid.
Matt Graydon, from the International Organization of Migration, was on the scene when the event unfolded. He said a fight broke out over the distribution of food.
“It escalated quite quickly,” he said, with shots ringing out as he fled with others into the hills by foot. Eventually army soldiers and more police arrived to bring the situation under control, Graydon said.
Hundreds of people died in the landslide last Friday in the remote village of Abi Barik when a chunk of earth broke off and buried part of the village.
Authorities have struggled to get aid to the survivors who were displaced from their homes. The village is reachable only by a dirt road, which has been made messier by the ongoing rain.
Many villagers have complained that aid has been slow to arrive while officials have said their efforts have been complicated by villagers from nearby areas coming to get handouts.
Afghanistan has endured three decades of war since the 1979 Soviet invasion but this year natural disasters are also taking their toll. According to the United Nations, roughly 70,000 people have been displaced by flooding in the last ten days. Heavy rains are believed to have triggered the landslide in Abi Barik as well.
Associated Press reporters Rebecca Santana and Amir Shah contributed to this report.