Over 2,000 feared dead in Afghanistan landslide

Operation to recover bodies under the mud has yet to begin after Friday's disaster, local sources say

Operation to recover bodies under the mud has yet to begin after Friday's disaster, local sources say

KABUL, Afghanistan – Over 2,000 are feared dead after a landslide hit a village in northern Afghanistan on Friday, local officials have told Anadolu Agency.

No operation has begun yet to reach the bodies buried under a massive amount of mud and dirt in the village of Abe Barik in the Argo district of northern Badakhshan province, Governor Shah Waliullah Adeeb said Saturday.

After a heavy rain, the landslide hit the village Friday at around early afternoon.

Adeeb said 2,100 people may be dead and hundreds more are feared missing.

But the dead bodies are still under the dirt and no real rescue mission has been started yet.

“With the basic equipment that we have with us, you can’t take out the dead bodies unless you get modern machinery,” the governor said.

Istanbul-based relief foundation IHH said on Saturday ninety Afghans were recovered alive in rescue operations.

A source from the provincial hospital said seven hundred families that were in danger of another landslide have reportedly fled for safer places.

A memorial ceremony is planned for later Saturday, and the site is expected to be designated as a mass grave, the U.N. in Afghanistan has announced.

Badakhshan is a mountainous province with remote and rustic districts, where residents are affected by avalanches and mudslides every year.

- ‘Doomsday’

Mohammad Agha, a 23-year-old resident of Abe Barik who brought his wounded elder brother to Badakhshan’s central hospital, said he was near the village during the landslide.

“It was like a minor doomsday,” he said. “I was sitting outside near my house door and saw a huge part of dirt come on the village in few seconds with huge dust.”

“Everything happened so quickly and the village was gone,” he added.

Homhammad Agha said that he lost his parents in the disaster.

“My house is near the road, I run away so fast, but I haven’t seen my parents, they got trapped under the dirt, but we found my brother wounded,” he said.

Dr. Noor Mohammad Khawari, the head of the provincial central hospital who visited the area, told Anadolu Agency over the phone that about 100 meters tall portion of dirt and mud has covered the village.

He said seven hundred families moved to avoid another landslide, while fifty four people were carried to hospital mostly with minor injuries.

“We have no problem in providing health services to the survivors, but the big challenge is taking out the dead bodies out of the giant hill of dirt,” Khawari said.

“We are distributing tents and other necessities to the survivors and will try to re-settle them a little farther from their current location to avoid other disasters after this incident,” he said.

Heavy rains in the last few weeks have also caused flash floods in the northern parts of the country, killing dozens of people and damaging hundreds of houses.

Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency