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    Over 350 killed in Afghan landslide

    May 03, 2014

    Landslide triggered by heavy rain buried large sections of a remote northeastern Afghan village on Friday, killing at least 350 people and leaving more than 2,000 missing. Villagers looked on helplessly and the governor appealed for shovels to help dig through the mass of mud that flattened every home in its path.

    The mountainous area in Badakhshan province has experienced days of heavy rain and flooding, and the side of a cliff collapsed onto the village of Hobo Barik around midday. Landslides and avalanches are frequent in Afghanistan, but Friday’s was one of the deadliest.

     

    Gov. Shah Waliullah Adeeb said more than 2,000 people were missing after the landslide buried some 300 homes about a third of all the houses in the area.

     

    At least 350 people were confirmed dead, according to Ari Gaitanis, a spokesman from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. He said the U.N. was working with authorities on the ground to rescue people still trapped.

     

    Badakhshan provincial police chief, Maj. Gen. Faziluddin Hayar said rescuers had pulled seven survivors and three bodies from the mounds of mud and earth but held out little hope that more survivors would be found.

     

    “Now we can only help the displaced people. Those trapped under the landslide and who have lost lives, it is impossible to do anything for them,” Hayar said.

     

    The landslide was likely caused by heavy rain, said Abdullah Homayun Dehqan, the province’s director for National Disaster Department. He said floods last week in different districts of the province killed four people and eight more were still missing.

     

    Authorities evacuated a nearby village over concerns about further landslides, the governor said. Dehqan said blankets and tents had been sent and about 400 people from nearby villages had gathered to help with the rescue effort.

     

    Badakhshan 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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