In the mountainous northeastern state of Badakhshan, in Afghanistan, two landslides buried over 500 residents of the Abi Barak under hundreds of feet of mud.
The first landslide buried some 300 homes and those who had been inside or on the streets at the time as well as those attending a wedding party. The second landslide struck as villagers attempted to rescue those trapped – digging with shovels and their bare hands. The rescuers called off a search for survivors within 24 hours due to the lack of heavy machinery and diesel to power them.
Over the days that followed, aid came to Abi Barak along with opportunists from neighbouring villages who were eager to pounce on the truckloads of food and shelter that were making their way along the rutted track from Badakhshan’s capital, Faizabad.
The country’s top politicians including President at the time, Hamid Karzai and the two prospective future presidents, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and Dr. Ashraf Ghani flew in and out by helicopter as survivors grieved and tried to deal with their new circumstances.