Helicopter Noise Pollution

Low-flying aircraft over Lashkar Gah are a source of irritation to locals.

Helmand’s Provincial Reconstruction Team or PRT is based in a residential area in the heart of the city [Lashkar Gah], and people are suffering from the loud noise of helicopters landing and taking off.

Gulahmad Ehsan reports:

There are many flights, day and night, as soldiers are transferred from place to place, and logistical supplies, artillery and other things are brought in by the helicopters. They fly very close to the ground.

Dost Mohammad, a resident of Lashkar Gah, says, “I live in Lashkar Gah and these helicopters are really annoying. Our women and children can’t sleep at night. The helicopters come in late at night and fly very low. They make a terrible noise.”

People say pregnant women are disturbed by the sound. And it’s not just the noise. They say the helicopters fire off flares which can cause fires.

According to Ramazan, who lives in the city, “The PRT helicopters came during the night and dropped flares on our house. A blanket went on fire and we were really disoriented. After a short time, we were able to put out the fire.

The spokesperson for the PRT in Helmand, Colonel Charlie Mayo, says flares are sometimes fired from the PRT base to prevent attacks. He says the helicopters have to fly low on order to avoid Taleban missiles.

“The most important thing to remember is that we don’t want to make these helicopters targets for the Taleban,” he says.

I am hoping the day will come when the helicopters do not fly to low and disturb people. Otherwise, this will be one more reason for people to dislike the foreign forces.

Gulahmad Ehsan, for IWPR in Helmand.

Also in this issue

Refugees from the fighting in Sangin gather in the provincial capital.
Uncleared rubbish in the street poses health risks.
Life is tough for civilians in Garmseer as fighting continues.
Renewed popularity for traditional fairs where villagers come to buy and sell.
Low-flying aircraft over Lashkar Gah are a source of irritation to locals.
A new style of music sweeps the province.
Why is the government demolishing a unique fortress to extend a police station?
Local boys wrestle to defend their village’s honour in an age-old tradition.
New schools fill a gap left by the dilapidated state system.