New Flood Protection Will Benefit 30,000 Pol-e Khomri Residents

Yesterday, provincial authorities, the director of Lower Kunduz River Basin Agency (LKRBA) and Afghan-German Cooperation representatives kicked off the construction work of a flood protection wall in Baghlan. More than 30,000 residents will benefit from the project, which also includes the rehabilitation of the Baladori Intake. The work will protect Pol-e Khomri City and the Baladori Canal in the provincial capital from flooding. The Afghan-German Cooperation’s Regional Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) finances the construction at a total of about AFN 67.7 million. LKRBA will supervise the construction work with technical support from RIDF.

About 30 participants from local institutions and local elders attended the event that was celebrated by laying the foundation stone at the project site. Haji Ghulam Sakhi, a community elder said, ‘I am very glad that this project is implemented and executed. Many residents’ homes will be protected from floods and sufficient water will be provided for the agricultural land.’

The existing flood protection measures are in poor condition. Heavy flooding recently eroded the Baladori Intake on the Lower Kunduz River. This had affected the lives and livelihoods of 30,000 residents along the Baladori Canal and in Pol-e Khomri city centre. To mitigate the risks of future flooding, LKRBA proposed this flood protection wall project in 2016. The Provincial Development Council (PDC) prioritised the project as part of its development plan.

Mr Zabihullah Ahsas, Baghlan’s Provincial Deputy Governor said, ‘I urge the contractor to focus on improving project implementation, keeping to the scheduled time and aiming for the best quality of work.’

While monitoring of the construction work, RIDF will offer on-the-job training, remote coaching and mentoring sessions for the engineers and managers working at LKRBA. These activities aim to develop the department’s capacities to design, construct and maintain similar infrastructure projects independently in the future.

The project comprises the construction of 650 metres of gabion wall, or caged rock wall, 550 metres of canal protection wall, and the rehabilitation of the Baladori Canal Intake for flood protection. The construction will protect about 350 ha (1,750 jeribs) of land from flooding and improve irrigation for 400 ha (2,000 jeribs) of agricultural land. Because of this, agricultural production in the area will increase by about 20%, securing sustainable development and improving living conditions. The construction activities are planned to take about 15 months.

The KfW Development Bank implements the programme Regional Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). RIDF aims to improve the living conditions in northern Afghanistan by providing basic infrastructure and empowering administration and citizen groups to plan, implement and operate infrastructure projects. Infrastructure measures include the construction of roads, irrigation canals, flood protection walls, and schools as well as the development of the power grid. Since 2010 the programme has funded, constructed and rehabilitated more than 270 km of roads, 98 km of irrigation canals and 15 flood protection dams. Furthermore, the programme has constructed 29 school buildings and connected 5,750 households to the power grid. So far, 5,500 government employees have taken part in RIDF training courses that aim to train provincial governmental personnel. This will enable Afghan institutions to implement projects like these independently in the future.