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2,100 confirmed dead in Badakhshan landslide

2,100 confirmed dead in Badakhshan landslide

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May 02, 2014 - 21:50

FAIZABAD (Pajhwok): Over 2,100 people were killed and hundreds went missing on Friday when a massive landslide buried an entire village in the remote northeastern province of Badakhshan, officials said on Saturday.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) ordered the 209th Shaheen Military Corps to employ all available resources to evacuate the people trapped by tonnes of mud and rocks.

Gen. Fazal Din Ayar, the provincial police chief, told Pajhwok Afghan News the mudslide hit the village in the Aab Barik area of Argo district at around 1:30pm after days of heavy rains.

Up to 300 houses in the far-flung area were flattened as a result of the landslide, he said, adding rescue team could not reach the affected locality and it was beyond their capacity to deal with the aftermath.

“It is impossible rescuing the people trapped under the rubble,” said Abdullah Dehqan, the Natural Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) director for the province. He added rescue teams were striving to provide aid to 700 families living under the open sky.

Local officials and witnesses described the incident as a 'gargantuan' catastrophe, affecting 700 families. Many have been missing, said Governor Shah Waliullah Adib.

Provincial council head Abdul Wahed Tabibi said tens of people were inside a mosque, which was also buried. He warned the individuals trapped under tonnes of mud could die if rescuers did not reach the site in time.

Seeking immediate relief, Adib said rescuers lacked equipment. "It's physically impossible. We don't have enough shovels; we need more machinery." A nearby village was evacuated amid fears of further landslides.

"The number of deceased has increased to 350 and significant displacement is expected," the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistaninfo-icon (UNAMA said in a statement.

It added: "The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is helping with coordinating local authorities to rescue those still trapped."

Bordering Tajikistan, China and Pakistaninfo-icon, Badakhshan is nestled in the Hindu Kush and Pamir mountain ranges.

President Hamid Karzai, meanwhile, voiced his deep shock over the tragedy and extended his condolences to the victims. He directed the authorities to reach out to the affected families.

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