People watch the rescue operations in Aab Bareek, Badakhshan, Afghanistan, May 3, 2014. A massive landslide hit a village in northern Afghan Badakhshan province on Friday, causing heavy casualties, but the exact number of deaths and injuries remained unknown Saturday as officials here released contradictory numbers. (Xinhua/Ahmad Massoud)
KABUL, May 3 (Xinhua) -- A massive landslide hit a village in northern Afghan Badakhshan province on Friday, causing heavy casualties, but the exact number of deaths and injuries remained unknown Saturday as officials here released contradictory numbers.
"The initial information showed from 600 to 900 might have been killed," Dr. Mohammad Daim Kakar, Director General of Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority told Xinhua Saturday.
It is an initial figure and could be changed, he said.
The incident occurred in a remote village in Aab Bareek area of Argo district in the mountainous province with Faizabad city as its capital, 315 km northeast of Afghan capital of Kabul.
"The rescue operation is facing challenges. More than 250 houses were trapped beneath 20 meters to 100 meters of debris," Amanullah Payman, a Badakhshan lawmaker told local media.
"I contacted rescue official. They said between 1,200 to 1,300 people were killed," he said.
"We estimate that more than 2,500 were missing. It is feared that most of the missing people died as more than 20 meters of debris covered the houses in the village," provincial governor Shah Wali Adib told Xinhua late Friday.
But the police chief of Badakhshan Fazludin Ayar told local media Saturday that death toll would not be more than 200, saying the governor was exaggerating the numbers.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai instructed the concerned official to do their best in the rescue operations to save lives and provide assistance to the affected families.
The landslide was triggered by recent heavy rains.
Karzai also discuss the matter with Second Vice President Mohammad Karim Khalili who heads the National Disaster Management Authority, Afghan Defense Minister Bismillah Mohammadi and other officials, the presidential palace said in a statement.
A high-ranking delegation was traveling early Saturday to the mountainous province, according to Kakar.
"Provincial authorities report that more than 350 Afghans have been killed, more are still missing and many families have been displaced," the UN mission in the country said in a statement.
"On behalf of the UN humanitarian agencies, I wish to extend our condolences to all those families who have lost loved ones as a result of these landslides. There have now been more Afghans killed through natural disasters in the past seven days than all of 2013." said Mark Bowden, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Afghanistan.
Afghan army and police also rushed to the site, a four-hour drive from the provincial capital Faizabad city. The Afghan air force had also begun an air support operation. Dozens of health officials and doctors also reached the area.
"5,000 to 6,000 people, or 700 families, were evacuated to safer places," Deputy governor Gul Mohammad Bedar told Xinhua Saturday, adding that the World Food Program has taken 80 tons of food to the site.
A massive hill was collapsed 11:00 a.m. Friday local time. After eight hours of rescue operations in parts of the village, only three bodies were found. Over 100 injured were shifted to hospitals, the provincial governor said.
FAIZABAD, Afghanistan, May 2 (Xinhua) -- More than 2,500 people were feared dead in a landslide in the northern Afghan province of Badakhshan on Friday, the provincial governor said.
"We estimate that more than 2,500 were missing. It is feared that most of the missing people were died as more than 20 meters of debris covered the houses in a small village," Governor Shah Wali Adib told Xinhua. Full story
FAIZABAD, Afghanistan, May 2 (Xinhua) -- More than 200 villagers were feared dead Friday following a landslide in the northern Afghan province of Badakhshan, authorities said.
"Following recent heavy rains a landslide hit a village in the Aab Bareek area of Argu district Friday morning. More than 200 people are believed to have been killed," local official Fazlludin Ayar told Xinhua. Full story