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Balkh: Amu River eats away villages in 2 districts

Balkh: Amu River eats away villages in 2 districts

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May 16, 2017 - 20:18

MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): The Amu River has swollen thousands of acres of land and inundated hundreds of homes in two districts of northern Balkh province during the past one and a half decades due to the government’s negligence, the affected residents say.

They say Uzbekistan consolidates the river’s banks each year on their side, pushing the water into Afghanistaninfo-icon side.

Local officials, who confirm the damage the river has caused to local residents, express their inability to consolidate the river’s banks as the subject belongs to the central government.

Balkh’s Shortapa and Kaldar districts and the Hairatan dry port township lie along the river, historically known as Oxus.

Villages hard hit by the phenomenon include in Shortapa district include Hazara Toqi, Boz Ariq, Ariq Bator, Jangal Ariq and Joy Wakil.

Local residents claim arable land measuring 4000 acres of land and forests and about 2000 homes had submerged in the river’s water.

Haji Abdul Rashid, 56, a resident of Ariq Bator village, told Pajhwok Afghan News: “Ever since I can remember, the Amu River is after us, it has swallowed our entire village.”

He recalled some 200 families had been living in the village and they owned agricultureinfo-icon land and forests spread over hundreds of acres of land.

He said their attempts at controlling the river’s water had little benefit. He said the river had not only inundated the Ariq Bator village but many others.

In nearby Shortapa district, residents tell similar stories.  They say Aq Masjid, Orzaq, Argha Yaq, Joy Jadid and other villages have been affected by the overflowing Amu River.

Haji Sifatullah, one of the residents, said the erosion of the river’s banks had eaten away hundreds of homes and nearly 2500 acres of arable land in the district.

He said their repeated requests to the government about resolving the issue had fallen on deaf ears. He said residents of the mentioned villages had migrated elsewhere.

Local officials say it is beyond their ability to consolidate the Amu River’s banks. The governor’s spokesman, Munir Farhad, spurned reports that Uzbek boats had violated the Afghanistan border.

He said the friendly country had never tried to violate the Afghanistan border and if such an incident occurred, it would be responded with firmly.

Farhad confirmed the havoc the Amu River had played with farmland and residential buildings on this side of the border, but said it was beyond the provincial government’s ability to construct the river’s banks because it needed a huge budget.

He said the Balkh government had discharged its responsibility by sharing the issue with the central government.

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