Hundreds killed in Afghanistan landslide

About 300 homes buried after hill collapses on village in remote mountainous province bordering China.
Afghan villagers gather at the site of a landslide at the Argo district in Badakhshan province on May 2, 2014, that killed at least 350 people, according to the UN. Reuters
Afghan villagers gather at the site of a landslide at the Argo district in Badakhshan province on May 2, 2014, that killed at least 350 people, according to the UN. Reuters

KABUL // At least 350 people were killed and hundreds are missing after a landslide buried a village in north-eastern Afghanistan on Friday, Afghan and UN officials said.

The governor of Badakhshan province, Shah Waliullah Adeeb, said more than 2,000 people were missing after a hill collapsed on the village of Hobo Barik after days of heavy rain. Mr Adeeb said the landslide buried about 300 homes in the area, approximately a third of all houses there.

Ari Gaitanis, a spokesman from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, said at least 350 people died in the landslide. He said the UN was working with local authorities to rescue people still trapped.

The governor said rescue crews but did not have enough equipment, appealing for shovels.

“It’s physically impossible right now,” Mr Adeeb said. “We don’t have enough shovels; we need more machinery.”

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

The provincial police chief, Faziluddin Hayar, said the landslide happened at about 1pm.

Badakhshan province, nestled in the Hindu Kush and Pamir mountain ranges and bordering China, is one of the most remote in the country. The area has seen few attacks from insurgents following the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

Avalanches occur regularly in the rugged mountains of northern Afghanistan. The most deadly one in the past two years occurred in February 2010, when more than 170 people were killed at the 3,800-metre-high Salang Pass, which is the major route through the Hindu Kush mountains that connects the capital to the north.

* Associated Press

Published: May 3, 2014 04:00 AM

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