An Afghan Dam Stems Tragic Flood

A family in Sayanee village in Ghazni province rebuilds its home, which was destroyed when the Shamas river flooded its banks
A family in Sayanee village in Ghazni province rebuilds its home, which was destroyed when the Shamas river flooded its banks
USAID's CADG
A village secures its future by finding a way to check an unruly river
22 MAY 2013 | GHAZNI, AFGHANISTAN
 
Abdul Hakimi has lost his home three times in 25 years. Each time, a flood surged through his village in Ghazni province in central Afghanistan, devastating everything along its path. The unruly Shamas river has repeatedly brought trouble for  hundreds of people in Sayanee village, on the outskirts of Ghazni city, the provincial capital. Abdul Hakimi says the consequences take years to overcome. “Each time, it takes four years to rebuild (a house),” he says, adding that it can cost anywhere between USD 10,000 and 20,000. Each flood also lays waste to 200 hectares of farmland, practically wiping out the local economy.
 
After the 2011 flood, the Provincial Governor collaborated with USAID and the villagers to develop a flood-mitigation plan. More than 750 villagers were recruited to rebuild intakes, retaining walls and check dams along the river. In spring 2012, the project faced the ultimate test twice-over  when rain and snowmelt caused the Shamas river to swell. But the intakes, retaining walls and check dams diverted the rushing water and debris away from Sayanee’s houses and fields.
 
Abdul Hakimi says the project was a watershed for his village. “We’ve been able to rebuild,” he says, pointing towards Sayanee’s lush fields and peacefully re-settled homes.

Last updated: January 06, 2014

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