As I’ve mentioned before, the city of Kabul has suffered an immense amount of damage over the years, especially from the recent civil war. Many parts of the city are in rubble and severely damaged, and many peoples homes lost. Yet many people still occupy these destroyed buildings, even though it would be unfit to live according to many parts of the world. That’s just how it currently is in Kabul, and how it seems it will be for the foreseeable future. Many contractors have come to Kabul from the United States, and the United Kingdom, offering bids on renovation projects for the city, hoping to offer some assistance. Theses bids have been enormous however, since the infrastructure itself is destroyed in many parts of the city, including damaged electricity and plumbing. These factors make the scope of the projects very extensive, time consuming, and extremely expensive. A contractor out of Phoenix Arizona (phoenixwaterdamage.org), that helped put one of the renovation bids together said a big reason for the cost is due to the level of mold that is present in the buildings. Fractured piping throughout the city has resulted in extreme water damage that has compromised the integrity of many of the buildings. For this reason, many of the building will have to be completely renovated, and in many cases, entirely replaced. “When the foundation of a structure is affected badly with mold then its never a cheap fix”, said one of the project coordinators.
In contrast to many commercial buildings and residences in the the United States, and the United Kingdom that are covered by insurance policies, these buildings in Kabul have no coverage to help offset the cost. The risk associated with covering one of these buildings is so high that it makes it fairly impossible to ever get coverage on future builds, and investment for that sake to rebuild the city. This is terribly sad, because the living conditions of many of the cities occupants are horrendous. Despite the lack of available clean water, electricity, plumbing and often shelter, the level of toxicity from the mold in the city poses a very dangerous threat their well being of its inhabitants. Increased exposure to mold can result in trouble breathing, asthma, permanent lunge damage, and in extreme cases death. For those living in structures badly affected by mold, there will most certainly be long term health effects as a result. Unfortunately these threats are of little concern, at least to many of the occupants, since more immediate threats like bombs affect their well being on a day-to-day basis.
Possible options for Kabul’s rejuvenation may have to come from global organizations like the World Bank (WB), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). They may be the only institutions willing to take on such large amounts of risk, and single handedly posses the capital needed for such a project. This may cause more harm than good however if Afghanistan were to accept such a lone. These global organizations are seen as a hand of the United States, and any dealings with them may be seen as threatening to the terrorist networks in the country, and may spark violent protest from anti-American groups. These anti-American groups may stage their lack of support with further acts of terror and create more damage than before.
At some point, Afghanistan will need to allocate it’s own resources to rebuilding it’s capital city, or else be willing to take aid from outside sources with success, to get the city on its feet again. Or else the terrorists that plague this country are comprising any hope of a better future for the entire population with their violent and destructive actions.
The construction of the city of light is no small feat, and will require the cooperation of many institutions and financiers in order to see it through. And we must stay hopeful, regardless of what odds we face!