The news reached us yesterday evening from our brothers in the community of Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Heavy rains had triggered a landslide in the Pamirs yesterday, with a huge avalanche of debris and mud falling into the valley. Several houses of Shujand were buried or destroyed. It is almost impossible to get through the meter-high masses of rubble. The power supply is interrupted.
Shujand is located in the Rushon valley, from which one of our teams had returned two days before the disaster…
I can hardly believe what the first pictures after the disaster show. We were in these villages just two days ago, Gerhard Friesen reports, one of the leaders of Bible Mission. Together with brothers from the church of Dushanbe, we had once again set out on a mission trip to the Pamirs, overcoming the difficult mountain roads, always along the border, Tajikistan on one side and Afghanistan on the other side of the Pyandzh River.
Our hearts are still overwhelmed as we remember how happy the people of the Pamirs were about our visit. It seemed as if they had been expecting us. They had invited us into their homes, given us their hospitality despite great poverty, and they had wanted to hear more and more of the Gospel…. and now this catastrophe! It shows again how hard life is in the Pamirs, and that the beautiful mountain world of the Pamirs can become a deadly danger for people within a few minutes.
Thank God the landslide happened during the day, so that people were not surprised while they were sleeping and were able to get to safety. But 18 houses have been destroyed. 25 families and up to 100 children are affected and need urgent help to survive.
Even more, so that these people learn that the God we keep telling them about is a God who sees them.
A God who visits them.
A God who does not leave them alone in their distress.
Who is affected?
Just a few days ago our team was playing basketball with some Pamir boys in the mountain village of Rushon. Thanks to your help, dear friends, we were able to build the sports field and renovate the school auditorium last year. The person in charge of sports in the region is still full of gratitude when he tells us: «I have never experienced anything like this in my whole life! In 38 days, the sports field and the auditorium were built, and the brothers from Dushanbe came to help us, and the whole village cooperated, just everyone, from the police colonel to the children — everyone!»
It is these people who are now coming to the aid of their neighbours in Shujand. Rushon itself was spared from the avalanche disaster.
Именно эти люди сейчас приходят на помощь своим соседям в Шуджанде. Сам Рушон от лавины не пострадал.
How were the relief operations started?
The rescue work at an altitude of more than 8,000 feet is difficult. The weather is unstable. There is a lack of everything. A commission is determining the extent of the damage and taking care of the power supply. The few tractors available have begun clearing the area. People are using shovels to try to get through to the destroyed houses.
The churches in Central Asia immediately started a prayer movement and a collection of funds for the people in the Pamirs. We are in constant contact with our workers and church leadership in Dushanbe. As a first relief measure, BibleMission was able to provide fuel for the clearing vehicles.
What is needed immediately?
The people who have lost their homes or whose homes are badly damaged need almost everything, especially:
Clothing, blankets, dishes and household goods
Building materials for reconstruction
How you can send immediate help:
With your gifts, you can make it possible for relief supplies to reach the Pamirs quickly and for people to survive. The following information is for guidance and provides an overview of urgently needed aid.
1. AID FOR AFFECTED FAMILIES
To provide one family with initial aid (food, clothing, school equipment for children) approximately $350 is needed.
More clearing vehicles are needed to clear roads and buildings (excavators, bulldozers). To bring the equipment to the high altitudes of Pamir, about $3.000 are needed.
3.RECONSTRUCTION OF HOUSES:
Approximately $1,500 per house will be needed to purchase building materials and transport them to the Pamirs. (These are preliminary figures, as the prices for building materials are currently rising sharply).
Every contribution count because every contribution helps those affected by the disaster. Every contribution helps the people of Pamir as a strong testimony for the Gospel and for God who is mighty to save and to send help through His children.
Your prayer can move mountains!
Even the mountains of the Pamir! Join the prayer movement for the Pamirs! Pray for the people in this unreached area who are so open to the Gospel and often do not dare to take the final step towards Jesus — for fear of persecution in Islamic dominated Tajikistan and in the Pamir region where many people consider themselves Ishmaelites and adhere to occultism.