Search Called Off for Survivors of Afghanistan Landslide

Kabul, May 04 (QNA) – Rescuers in Afghanistan have given up hope of finding any more survivors in a double landslide that is feared to have killed more than 2,500 people.

They have stopped digging through the earth and mud that swamped a whole village in the remote north-east province of Badakhshan.

Officials now say the site has become a mass grave for the village of Ab Barik.

However, Afghan officials are revising down the death toll, saying they thought that a maximum of about 500 people had died in the landslide that engulfed the village of Hobo Bank in Hindu Kush under tones of rubble.

“The first figure that we announced was obtained from local people, not from our technical team,” Gul Mohammad Bedar, the deputy provincial governor of Badakhshan, told the AFP. “We think the dead toll will not rise beyond 500.”
UN authorities in Afghanistan could not verify the Afghan officials’ death toll, saying 350 were confirmed dead and many more were missing. The UN said its focus was now on more than 4,000 people displaced by the disaster.

Mark Bowden, a UN co-ordinator, told Al Jazeera that chances of finding survivors were slim due to the catastrophic nature of the landslide.

The United Nations said the focus was now on the more than 4,000 displaced by the disaster. There is a risk of further landslides in the area, officials say.

Aid, including tents, food and water, has begun to arrive for the survivors.

The landslides hit on Friday morning. After the first landslide struck, residents from a neighboring village came to the rescue only to be caught by a second landslide that brought down the entire side of one hill and thousands of tones of mud and earth. (QNA)

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