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Unhappy VIDEO-Landslide in Afganistan Kills Thousands




Afghan officials give up hope of finding any survivors in a mountainous area of
north Afghanistan after a landslide claims at least 2,500 lives and displaces more than 4,000.



Entire village wiped out in seconds: 2,100 confirmed dead after hill collapses in Afghanistan following heavy rain as officials give up hope of finding more survivors

  • More than 2,100 feared dead following landslide in northern Afghanistan
  • Rescuers have stopped trying to find survivors in the 300ft deep mudslide
  • Landslide buried some 300 homes in area - about third of all houses there
3 May 2014

Afghan officials gave up hope on Saturday of finding any survivors from a landslide in the remote northeast, putting the death toll at more than 2,100.
Rescuers have instead turned their attention to helping survivors - more than 4,000 of whom have been displaced by the disastrous landslide in the north east of the country yesterday morning.
Officials in Hobo Barik, in the Badakhshan province, fear the unstable hillside above the site of the disaster may cave in again, threatening rescuers and survivors in the area, which borders Tajikistan.


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Search: Villagers in Argu, Afgnaistan were seen today digging through debris for traces of their relatives and homes





Struggle: Only villagers armed with basic tools kept up the search, as officials in the disaster zone focussed on helping survivors








Displaced: Some 4,000 people have been left with nowhere to live as a result of the ladndslide










Shovelling: Desperate villagers kept up the search after official rescuers turned their attention to helping survivors


Naweed Forotan, a spokesman for the Badakhshan provincial governor, said: 'More than 2,100 people from 300 families are all dead'.

Villagers and police, equipped with only basic digging tools, resumed their search at dawn, but it soon became clear there was no hope of finding survivors buried in up to 300ft of mud.

Mohammad Karim Khalili, one of Afghanistan's two two vice presidents, said: 'That will be their cemetery. It is not possible to bring out any bodies.'

Begam Nesar, a villager, said: ''Thirteen of my family members are under the mud'. They include her mother, father, brothers, sisters and children. She said she had been visiting relatives at a nearby village when the disaster struck.

An elderly woman at the scene said: 'Seven members of my family were here, four or five of them were killed... I am also half alive, what can I do?'

A UN spokesman in Afghanistan said the focus the more than 4,000 people displaced, either directly as a result of Friday's landslide or as a precautionary measure from villages assessed to be at risk.
Their main needs are water, medicine, food and emergency shelter. The impoverished area, dotted with villages of mud-brick homes nestled in valleys beside bare slopes, has been hit by several landslides in recent years.



Path of destruction: The landslide, which took place yesterday morning in the Afghan village, destroyed hundreds of homes





Efforts: Heavy machinery was drafted in to pick away at the mud and rubble





Anguish: Villagers and relatives of those lost kept up the search





Local rescuers are pleading with the international community to send equipment such as shovels and machinery to help recover survivors






Local officials are still trying to establish the number of people missing or dead
after this morning's landslide buried the village in the Badakhasan Province of Afghanistan





Before the disaster, an estimated 2,100 people lived in the village and a quarter of them are feared dead

The side of the mountain above Hobo Barak collapsed at around 11am local time on Friday as people were trying to recover belongings and livestock after a smaller landslip just hours before.
Hundreds of homes were destroyed in the landslides that were triggered by torrential rain. Officials worry another section of the mountainside could collapse at any time.

The Afghan military flew rescue teams to the area today, as the remote mountain region is served by only narrow, poor roads which have themselves been damaged by more than a week of heavy rain.
'We have managed to get one excavator into the area, but digging looks hopeless,' Colonel Abdul Qadeer Sayad, a deputy police chief of Badakhshan, said.





He said the sheer size of the area affected, and the depth of the mud, meant that only modern machinery could help.
NATO-led coalition troops are on standby to assist but on Saturday said the Afghan government had not asked for help.

'I call on the government to come and help our people, to take the bodies out,' said a middle-aged man, standing on a hill overlooking the river of mud where his village once stood.
'We managed to take out only 10-15 people, the rest of our villagers here are trapped.'

Hundreds of people camped out overnight in near freezing conditions, although some were given tents. Officials distributed food and water.




Survivors of the disaster make their way from the village hit by the landslide which is feared to have claimed hundreds of lives





Wiped out: Hobo Barik, a village in Badakshan province, was hit by heavy rains, almost certainly killing 500 people

At least 100 people were being treated for injuries, most of them by medics who set up facilities in a stable building.
Seasonal rains and spring snow melt have caused devastation across large swathes of northern Afghanistan, killing more than 100 people before this latest disaster.

British charities also said today they were mobilising to join the rescue efforts.Save the Children sent five ambulances, are distributing blankets and giving medical help.
Oxfam's Afghanistan Country Director John Watt said: 'While communications are proving difficult, we can expect providing clean water, food, and temporary shelter will be the most urgent priorities. Oxfam - together with our Afghan partners in the province - is readying a response.'

Other British charities said they were 'monitoring' the situation and stood ready to provide assistance if it was requested.

U.S. President Barack Obama also said American forces were on standby to help.
'Just as the United States has stood with the people of Afghanistan through a difficult decade, we stand ready to help our Afghan partners as they respond to this disaster, for even as our war there comes to an end this year, our commitment to Afghanistan and its people will endure,' he said.

About 30,000 U.S. soldiers remain in Afghanistan, although that number is falling as Washington prepares to withdraw all combat troops who battled Taliban insurgents by the end of this year.

Police said they had provided a security ring around the area, which has been relatively free of insurgent attacks. The Taliban said in a statement they were also willing to provide security.

Afghan Landslide Rescuers Give up on Finding Survivors



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