From Kelso to Kabul: Union Jack flies to disaster zones


There are constant reminders of how different life is here in Afghanistan to what it is like back home at Kelso.

In northern Afghanistan, the mountains are highly unstable and not just prone to earthquakes, but also to landsides as unstable rock surfaces subside in heavy rains.

Sadly, man’s constructions are no match for these massive forces of nature.

After flash flooding in the northwest, this weekend we had the huge landslides in the northeast which caused further loss of life.

Although Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are in the lead, ISAF forces are on alert to assist if requested.

Two weeks ago we were asked to help with strategic airlifts of drinking water to assist those flooded out of their homes.

This past weekend, ISAF has been assisting with the movement of humanitarian aid, including tents, blankets and carpets for those left homeless by the huge landslides.

Part of my role is to ensure that we don’t just help our ANSF colleagues, but are seen to be helping all Afghans.

Hence, we arranged for key journalists to be escorted on one of our C130 planes carrying aid to Faizabad in Badakhshan, just 30 miles from the disaster zone.

One of the guys escorting found himself physically helping reload aid from air pallets onto a local truck to deliver to those in need.

Not something I had to do very often when working in my London office.