News Middle East

Tuesday 2 September 2014

500 dead and 2,000 trapped under landslide in Afghanistan

Published 02/05/2014 | 17:33

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A landslide has engulfed hundreds of homes in Badakshan province, Afghanistan
A landslide has engulfed hundreds of homes in Badakshan province, Afghanistan

A landslide triggered by heavy rains has buried a village in north-eastern Afghanistan, killing at least 500 and leaving up to 2,000 people missing, believed trapped under the mud.

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A hill collapsed on the village of Hobo Barik in Badakshan province, according to governor Shah Waliullah Adeeb.

"There were more than 1,000 families living in that village. A total of 2,100 people - men, women and children - are trapped," said Naweed Forotan, a spokesman for the local governor.

A senior police official earlier said up to 500 people were missing, believed dead.

Three bodies have been pulled out of the rubble in Argo district and at least 100 people are being treated for injuries, said Colonel Abdul Qadeer Sayad, a deputy police chief of Badakhshan province.

The landslide, which follows a week of heavy rain at a time of melting spring snow, crushed hundreds of houses and damaged hundreds more, he said.

Villagers were attempting to recover their possessions after a smaller landslide crashed into the village. No one was hurt in the first slide, officials said. The second deadly slide struck a few hours later.

President Hamid Karzai ordered Afghan officials to start emergency relief efforts immediately, a palace statement said.

The governor said rescue crews were working but did not have enough equipment.

"It's physically impossible right now," governor Shah Waliullah Adeeb said. "We don't have enough shovels; we need more machinery."

He said authorities evacuated a nearby village over concerns about further landslides.

Badakshan province, nestled in the Hindu Kush and Pamir mountain ranges and bordering China, is one of the most remote in the country.

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