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Amu River swallows 200,000 acres of Afghan land

Amu River swallows 200,000 acres of Afghan land

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5 Nov 2016 - 16:57
Amu River swallows 200,000 acres of Afghan land
author avatar
5 Nov 2016 - 16:57

MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): The Amu River has swollen about 200,000 acres of land in five Afghanistan’s provinces due to consolidation of the river’s banks by neighbouring countries, the Ministry of Water and Energy said on Saturday.

Without naming any country, Deputy Water and Energy Minister Fahimullah Ziaee told reporters in the capital of northern Balkh province that river banks consolidation had also destroyed border signs with neighbouring countries.

The Oxus forms 1,200 kilometres of Afghanistan’s border with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Every year, the river swallows hundreds of homes and hundreds of thousands of hectares of Afghanistan’s land along with hundreds of animals.

The deputy water and energy minister heading a delegation arrived in Mazar-i-Sharif to investigate damages caused by the river to local residents, according to Munir Farhad, the Balkh governor’s spokesman.

After a meeting with local officials, the deputy minister told reporters that the Afghan government had carried out some works to consolidate the river’s banks on this side over the past one decade.

But the works by the Afghan government did not bear results because construction works by neighbouring countries were still underway, he added.

He said if the river’s banks had been consolidated on the Afghan side, the damage would have been curtailed.

However, he said President Ashraf Ghani and the Ministry of Water and Energy had initiated a serious work at preventing further destruction by the river.

He said dams worth $200 million would be constructed on the river in the five northern provinces from Samangan to Faryab.

He said the dams would produce electricity, irrigate farms and prevent agriculture land from being flooded.

The governor’s spokesman, Munir Farhad, said the Amu River had damaged the most Shortipa and Kaldar districts of Balkh.

He said the river annually washed away hundreds of acres of land and if action was not taken on emergency footing, the river would threaten Hairatan port.

Deputy provincial council head of Jawzjan province, Abdul Qadir, said the river water had destroyed land and properties in Khamab and Qarqin districts of the province.

He said 80 percent of agriculture land had been washed away by the river in the two districts, forcing hundreds of families into migration. He urged the government to take practical measures at preventing further damage.


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