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Rescuers struggle to help Afghans hit by landslide

KDWN

ABI BARIK, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan rescuers and volunteers armed with shovels and little more than their bare hands dug through the mud Saturday after a massive landslide swept through a village the day before, turning it into an earthen tomb holding hundreds of bodies, officials said.

The government and aid groups rushed to bring food, water and shelter to the survivors as the government tried to ascertain just how many people were killed in the latest natural disaster to hit a country already reeling from nearly three decades of war.

Figures on the number of people killed and missing in the disaster Friday varied from 255 to 2,700. Fears of a new landslide complicated rescue efforts, as homes and residents sat buried under meters (yards) of mud.

“That will be their cemetery,” said Mohammad Karim Khalili, one of the country’s two vice presidents, who visited the scene Saturday. “It is not possible to bring out any bodies.”

Though figures on the death toll varied, residents knew the toll the tragedy had taken on their own families.

From atop a muddy hill, Begam Nesar pointed to the torrent of earth below that had wiped out much of her village. “Thirteen of my family members are under the mud,” she said, including her mother, father, brothers, sisters and children. She said she had been visiting relatives at a nearby village when the disaster struck.

The United Nations said Friday at least 350 people died, and the provincial governor said as many as 2,000 people were feared missing. On Saturday, the International Organization of Migration said information they gathered indicated 2,700 people were dead or missing.

Part of the confusion lay in the fact that no one knew how many people were home when the landslide struck.

At least 255 people were confirmed dead, Khalili said. Most of those were people who had rushed to the scene to help after a previous, smaller landslide. When a bigger landslide hit, those people along with roughly 300 homes were wiped out. But since no one knows how many people were in those homes, counting the dead is difficult, Khalili said.

Mohammad Aslam Seyas, deputy director of the Natural Disaster Management Authority, said fears of new landslides had slowed the operation.

The ground on a hill overlooking the village was soaked from recent heavy rainfalls that officials believe triggered the slide. About 1 kilometer (more than half a mile) away, government and aid groups set up tents for those displaced.

Few had time to flee before the mud wall caved in.

Sunatullah, a local farmer, was outside when he felt the earth start to move. He ran to his house, grabbed his wife and children and then ran to the top of a nearby hill. Minutes later, he said, part of the hill collapsed.

“The houses were just covered in mud,” he said, adding that he had lost 10 members of his extended family, his house and his livestock.

Authorities distributed food and water to survivors, said Abdullah Homayun Dehqan, the head of Badakhshan province’s National Disaster Department.

But residents were worried about more natural disasters to come.

“There are four valleys from where water can flow in here. If water flows in, the whole village would be under water,” said Jaan Mohammed.

Rescuers have struggled to reach the remote area, roughly 320 kilometers (200 miles) from the capital, Kabul. There is little development or infrastructure. Even getting heavy equipment such as bulldozers to the site – accessible only by narrow and bumpy dirt roads – was difficult. Most residents live in single-story mud houses that were no match to the rush of earth.

A spokesman for the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force said they have not received any requests to help out with the disaster.

Badakhshan province borders Tajikistan to the north and China and Pakistan to the east.

“Badakhshan is a remote, mountainous region of Afghanistan, which has seen many natural disasters,” said the head of the IOM’s Afghanistan office, Richard Danziger. “But the scale of this landslide is absolutely devastating, with an entire village practically wiped away. Hundreds of families have lost everything.”

In addition to the wars and fighting that have plagued Afghanistan for roughly three decades, the country has been subject to repeated natural disasters including landslides and avalanches. A landslide in 2012 killed 71 people. Authorities were not able to recover the vast majority of bodies and ended up declaring the site a massive grave.

Santana reported from Kabul. Associated Press writer Rahim Faiez in Kabul contributed to this report.

Rescuers struggle to help Afghans hit by landslide

KDWN

ABI BARIK, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan rescuers and volunteers armed with shovels and little more than their bare hands dug through the mud Saturday after a massive landslide swept through a village the day before, turning it into an earthen tomb holding hundreds of bodies, officials said.

The government and aid groups rushed to bring food, water and shelter to the survivors as the government tried to ascertain just how many people were killed in the latest natural disaster to hit a country already reeling from nearly three decades of war.

Figures on the number of people killed and missing in the disaster Friday varied from 255 to 2,700. Fears of a new landslide complicated rescue efforts, as homes and residents sat buried under meters (yards) of mud.

“That will be their cemetery,” said Mohammad Karim Khalili, one of the country’s two vice presidents, who visited the scene Saturday. “It is not possible to bring out any bodies.”

Though figures on the death toll varied, residents knew the toll the tragedy had taken on their own families.

From atop a muddy hill, Begam Nesar pointed to the torrent of earth below that had wiped out much of her village. “Thirteen of my family members are under the mud,” she said, including her mother, father, brothers, sisters and children. She said she had been visiting relatives at a nearby village when the disaster struck.

The United Nations said Friday at least 350 people died, and the provincial governor said as many as 2,000 people were feared missing. On Saturday, the International Organization of Migration said information they gathered indicated 2,700 people were dead or missing.

Part of the confusion lay in the fact that no one knew how many people were home when the landslide struck.

At least 255 people were confirmed dead, Khalili said. Most of those were people who had rushed to the scene to help after a previous, smaller landslide. When a bigger landslide hit, those people along with roughly 300 homes were wiped out. But since no one knows how many people were in those homes, counting the dead is difficult, Khalili said.

Mohammad Aslam Seyas, deputy director of the Natural Disaster Management Authority, said fears of new landslides had slowed the operation.

The ground on a hill overlooking the village was soaked from recent heavy rainfalls that officials believe triggered the slide. About 1 kilometer (more than half a mile) away, government and aid groups set up tents for those displaced.

Few had time to flee before the mud wall caved in.

Sunatullah, a local farmer, was outside when he felt the earth start to move. He ran to his house, grabbed his wife and children and then ran to the top of a nearby hill. Minutes later, he said, part of the hill collapsed.

“The houses were just covered in mud,” he said, adding that he had lost 10 members of his extended family, his house and his livestock.

Authorities distributed food and water to survivors, said Abdullah Homayun Dehqan, the head of Badakhshan province’s National Disaster Department.

But residents were worried about more natural disasters to come.

“There are four valleys from where water can flow in here. If water flows in, the whole village would be under water,” said Jaan Mohammed.

Rescuers have struggled to reach the remote area, roughly 320 kilometers (200 miles) from the capital, Kabul. There is little development or infrastructure. Even getting heavy equipment such as bulldozers to the site – accessible only by narrow and bumpy dirt roads – was difficult. Most residents live in single-story mud houses that were no match to the rush of earth.

A spokesman for the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force said they have not received any requests to help out with the disaster.

Badakhshan province borders Tajikistan to the north and China and Pakistan to the east.

“Badakhshan is a remote, mountainous region of Afghanistan, which has seen many natural disasters,” said the head of the IOM’s Afghanistan office, Richard Danziger. “But the scale of this landslide is absolutely devastating, with an entire village practically wiped away. Hundreds of families have lost everything.”

In addition to the wars and fighting that have plagued Afghanistan for roughly three decades, the country has been subject to repeated natural disasters including landslides and avalanches. A landslide in 2012 killed 71 people. Authorities were not able to recover the vast majority of bodies and ended up declaring the site a massive grave.

Santana reported from Kabul. Associated Press writer Rahim Faiez in Kabul contributed to this report.

Rescuers struggle to help Afghans hit by landslide

KDWN

ABI BARIK, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan rescuers and volunteers armed with shovels and little more than their bare hands dug through the mud Saturday after a massive landslide swept through a village the day before, turning it into an earthen tomb holding hundreds of bodies, officials said.

The government and aid groups rushed to bring food, water and shelter to the survivors as the government tried to ascertain just how many people were killed in the latest natural disaster to hit a country already reeling from nearly three decades of war.

Figures on the number of people killed and missing in the disaster Friday varied from 255 to 2,700. Fears of a new landslide complicated rescue efforts, as homes and residents sat buried under meters (yards) of mud.

“That will be their cemetery,” said Mohammad Karim Khalili, one of the country’s two vice presidents, who visited the scene Saturday. “It is not possible to bring out any bodies.”

Though figures on the death toll varied, residents knew the toll the tragedy had taken on their own families.

From atop a muddy hill, Begam Nesar pointed to the torrent of earth below that had wiped out much of her village. “Thirteen of my family members are under the mud,” she said, including her mother, father, brothers, sisters and children. She said she had been visiting relatives at a nearby village when the disaster struck.

The United Nations said Friday at least 350 people died, and the provincial governor said as many as 2,000 people were feared missing. On Saturday, the International Organization of Migration said information they gathered indicated 2,700 people were dead or missing.

Part of the confusion lay in the fact that no one knew how many people were home when the landslide struck.

At least 255 people were confirmed dead, Khalili said. Most of those were people who had rushed to the scene to help after a previous, smaller landslide. When a bigger landslide hit, those people along with roughly 300 homes were wiped out. But since no one knows how many people were in those homes, counting the dead is difficult, Khalili said.

Mohammad Aslam Seyas, deputy director of the Natural Disaster Management Authority, said fears of new landslides had slowed the operation.

The ground on a hill overlooking the village was soaked from recent heavy rainfalls that officials believe triggered the slide. About 1 kilometer (more than half a mile) away, government and aid groups set up tents for those displaced.

Few had time to flee before the mud wall caved in.

Sunatullah, a local farmer, was outside when he felt the earth start to move. He ran to his house, grabbed his wife and children and then ran to the top of a nearby hill. Minutes later, he said, part of the hill collapsed.

“The houses were just covered in mud,” he said, adding that he had lost 10 members of his extended family, his house and his livestock.

Authorities distributed food and water to survivors, said Abdullah Homayun Dehqan, the head of Badakhshan province’s National Disaster Department.

But residents were worried about more natural disasters to come.

“There are four valleys from where water can flow in here. If water flows in, the whole village would be under water,” said Jaan Mohammed.

Rescuers have struggled to reach the remote area, roughly 320 kilometers (200 miles) from the capital, Kabul. There is little development or infrastructure. Even getting heavy equipment such as bulldozers to the site – accessible only by narrow and bumpy dirt roads – was difficult. Most residents live in single-story mud houses that were no match to the rush of earth.

A spokesman for the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force said they have not received any requests to help out with the disaster.

Badakhshan province borders Tajikistan to the north and China and Pakistan to the east.

“Badakhshan is a remote, mountainous region of Afghanistan, which has seen many natural disasters,” said the head of the IOM’s Afghanistan office, Richard Danziger. “But the scale of this landslide is absolutely devastating, with an entire village practically wiped away. Hundreds of families have lost everything.”

In addition to the wars and fighting that have plagued Afghanistan for roughly three decades, the country has been subject to repeated natural disasters including landslides and avalanches. A landslide in 2012 killed 71 people. Authorities were not able to recover the vast majority of bodies and ended up declaring the site a massive grave.

Santana reported from Kabul. Associated Press writer Rahim Faiez in Kabul contributed to this report.

Rescuers struggle to help Afghans hit by landslide

KDWN

ABI BARIK, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan rescuers and volunteers armed with shovels and little more than their bare hands dug through the mud Saturday after a massive landslide swept through a village the day before, turning it into an earthen tomb holding hundreds of bodies, officials said.

The government and aid groups rushed to bring food, water and shelter to the survivors as the government tried to ascertain just how many people were killed in the latest natural disaster to hit a country already reeling from nearly three decades of war.

Figures on the number of people killed and missing in the disaster Friday varied from 255 to 2,700. Fears of a new landslide complicated rescue efforts, as homes and residents sat buried under meters (yards) of mud.

“That will be their cemetery,” said Mohammad Karim Khalili, one of the country’s two vice presidents, who visited the scene Saturday. “It is not possible to bring out any bodies.”

Though figures on the death toll varied, residents knew the toll the tragedy had taken on their own families.

From atop a muddy hill, Begam Nesar pointed to the torrent of earth below that had wiped out much of her village. “Thirteen of my family members are under the mud,” she said, including her mother, father, brothers, sisters and children. She said she had been visiting relatives at a nearby village when the disaster struck.

The United Nations said Friday at least 350 people died, and the provincial governor said as many as 2,000 people were feared missing. On Saturday, the International Organization of Migration said information they gathered indicated 2,700 people were dead or missing.

Part of the confusion lay in the fact that no one knew how many people were home when the landslide struck.

At least 255 people were confirmed dead, Khalili said. Most of those were people who had rushed to the scene to help after a previous, smaller landslide. When a bigger landslide hit, those people along with roughly 300 homes were wiped out. But since no one knows how many people were in those homes, counting the dead is difficult, Khalili said.

Mohammad Aslam Seyas, deputy director of the Natural Disaster Management Authority, said fears of new landslides had slowed the operation.

The ground on a hill overlooking the village was soaked from recent heavy rainfalls that officials believe triggered the slide. About 1 kilometer (more than half a mile) away, government and aid groups set up tents for those displaced.

Few had time to flee before the mud wall caved in.

Sunatullah, a local farmer, was outside when he felt the earth start to move. He ran to his house, grabbed his wife and children and then ran to the top of a nearby hill. Minutes later, he said, part of the hill collapsed.

“The houses were just covered in mud,” he said, adding that he had lost 10 members of his extended family, his house and his livestock.

Authorities distributed food and water to survivors, said Abdullah Homayun Dehqan, the head of Badakhshan province’s National Disaster Department.

But residents were worried about more natural disasters to come.

“There are four valleys from where water can flow in here. If water flows in, the whole village would be under water,” said Jaan Mohammed.

Rescuers have struggled to reach the remote area, roughly 320 kilometers (200 miles) from the capital, Kabul. There is little development or infrastructure. Even getting heavy equipment such as bulldozers to the site – accessible only by narrow and bumpy dirt roads – was difficult. Most residents live in single-story mud houses that were no match to the rush of earth.

A spokesman for the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force said they have not received any requests to help out with the disaster.

Badakhshan province borders Tajikistan to the north and China and Pakistan to the east.

“Badakhshan is a remote, mountainous region of Afghanistan, which has seen many natural disasters,” said the head of the IOM’s Afghanistan office, Richard Danziger. “But the scale of this landslide is absolutely devastating, with an entire village practically wiped away. Hundreds of families have lost everything.”

In addition to the wars and fighting that have plagued Afghanistan for roughly three decades, the country has been subject to repeated natural disasters including landslides and avalanches. A landslide in 2012 killed 71 people. Authorities were not able to recover the vast majority of bodies and ended up declaring the site a massive grave.

Santana reported from Kabul. Associated Press writer Rahim Faiez in Kabul contributed to this report.

Rescuers struggle to help Afghans hit by landslide

KDWN

ABI BARIK, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan rescuers and volunteers armed with shovels and little more than their bare hands dug through the mud Saturday after a massive landslide swept through a village the day before, turning it into an earthen tomb holding hundreds of bodies, officials said.

The government and aid groups rushed to bring food, water and shelter to the survivors as the government tried to ascertain just how many people were killed in the latest natural disaster to hit a country already reeling from nearly three decades of war.

Figures on the number of people killed and missing in the disaster Friday varied from 255 to 2,700. Fears of a new landslide complicated rescue efforts, as homes and residents sat buried under meters (yards) of mud.

“That will be their cemetery,” said Mohammad Karim Khalili, one of the country’s two vice presidents, who visited the scene Saturday. “It is not possible to bring out any bodies.”

Though figures on the death toll varied, residents knew the toll the tragedy had taken on their own families.

From atop a muddy hill, Begam Nesar pointed to the torrent of earth below that had wiped out much of her village. “Thirteen of my family members are under the mud,” she said, including her mother, father, brothers, sisters and children. She said she had been visiting relatives at a nearby village when the disaster struck.

The United Nations said Friday at least 350 people died, and the provincial governor said as many as 2,000 people were feared missing. On Saturday, the International Organization of Migration said information they gathered indicated 2,700 people were dead or missing.

Part of the confusion lay in the fact that no one knew how many people were home when the landslide struck.

At least 255 people were confirmed dead, Khalili said. Most of those were people who had rushed to the scene to help after a previous, smaller landslide. When a bigger landslide hit, those people along with roughly 300 homes were wiped out. But since no one knows how many people were in those homes, counting the dead is difficult, Khalili said.

Mohammad Aslam Seyas, deputy director of the Natural Disaster Management Authority, said fears of new landslides had slowed the operation.

The ground on a hill overlooking the village was soaked from recent heavy rainfalls that officials believe triggered the slide. About 1 kilometer (more than half a mile) away, government and aid groups set up tents for those displaced.

Few had time to flee before the mud wall caved in.

Sunatullah, a local farmer, was outside when he felt the earth start to move. He ran to his house, grabbed his wife and children and then ran to the top of a nearby hill. Minutes later, he said, part of the hill collapsed.

“The houses were just covered in mud,” he said, adding that he had lost 10 members of his extended family, his house and his livestock.

Authorities distributed food and water to survivors, said Abdullah Homayun Dehqan, the head of Badakhshan province’s National Disaster Department.

But residents were worried about more natural disasters to come.

“There are four valleys from where water can flow in here. If water flows in, the whole village would be under water,” said Jaan Mohammed.

Rescuers have struggled to reach the remote area, roughly 320 kilometers (200 miles) from the capital, Kabul. There is little development or infrastructure. Even getting heavy equipment such as bulldozers to the site – accessible only by narrow and bumpy dirt roads – was difficult. Most residents live in single-story mud houses that were no match to the rush of earth.

A spokesman for the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force said they have not received any requests to help out with the disaster.

Badakhshan province borders Tajikistan to the north and China and Pakistan to the east.

“Badakhshan is a remote, mountainous region of Afghanistan, which has seen many natural disasters,” said the head of the IOM’s Afghanistan office, Richard Danziger. “But the scale of this landslide is absolutely devastating, with an entire village practically wiped away. Hundreds of families have lost everything.”

In addition to the wars and fighting that have plagued Afghanistan for roughly three decades, the country has been subject to repeated natural disasters including landslides and avalanches. A landslide in 2012 killed 71 people. Authorities were not able to recover the vast majority of bodies and ended up declaring the site a massive grave.

Santana reported from Kabul. Associated Press writer Rahim Faiez in Kabul contributed to this report.

Rescuers struggle to help Afghans hit by landslide

KDWN

ABI BARIK, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan rescuers and volunteers armed with shovels and little more than their bare hands dug through the mud Saturday after a massive landslide swept through a village the day before, turning it into an earthen tomb holding hundreds of bodies, officials said.

The government and aid groups rushed to bring food, water and shelter to the survivors as the government tried to ascertain just how many people were killed in the latest natural disaster to hit a country already reeling from nearly three decades of war.

Figures on the number of people killed and missing in the disaster Friday varied from 255 to 2,700. Fears of a new landslide complicated rescue efforts, as homes and residents sat buried under meters (yards) of mud.

“That will be their cemetery,” said Mohammad Karim Khalili, one of the country’s two vice presidents, who visited the scene Saturday. “It is not possible to bring out any bodies.”

Though figures on the death toll varied, residents knew the toll the tragedy had taken on their own families.

From atop a muddy hill, Begam Nesar pointed to the torrent of earth below that had wiped out much of her village. “Thirteen of my family members are under the mud,” she said, including her mother, father, brothers, sisters and children. She said she had been visiting relatives at a nearby village when the disaster struck.

The United Nations said Friday at least 350 people died, and the provincial governor said as many as 2,000 people were feared missing. On Saturday, the International Organization of Migration said information they gathered indicated 2,700 people were dead or missing.

Part of the confusion lay in the fact that no one knew how many people were home when the landslide struck.

At least 255 people were confirmed dead, Khalili said. Most of those were people who had rushed to the scene to help after a previous, smaller landslide. When a bigger landslide hit, those people along with roughly 300 homes were wiped out. But since no one knows how many people were in those homes, counting the dead is difficult, Khalili said.

Mohammad Aslam Seyas, deputy director of the Natural Disaster Management Authority, said fears of new landslides had slowed the operation.

The ground on a hill overlooking the village was soaked from recent heavy rainfalls that officials believe triggered the slide. About 1 kilometer (more than half a mile) away, government and aid groups set up tents for those displaced.

Few had time to flee before the mud wall caved in.

Sunatullah, a local farmer, was outside when he felt the earth start to move. He ran to his house, grabbed his wife and children and then ran to the top of a nearby hill. Minutes later, he said, part of the hill collapsed.

“The houses were just covered in mud,” he said, adding that he had lost 10 members of his extended family, his house and his livestock.

Authorities distributed food and water to survivors, said Abdullah Homayun Dehqan, the head of Badakhshan province’s National Disaster Department.

But residents were worried about more natural disasters to come.

“There are four valleys from where water can flow in here. If water flows in, the whole village would be under water,” said Jaan Mohammed.

Rescuers have struggled to reach the remote area, roughly 320 kilometers (200 miles) from the capital, Kabul. There is little development or infrastructure. Even getting heavy equipment such as bulldozers to the site – accessible only by narrow and bumpy dirt roads – was difficult. Most residents live in single-story mud houses that were no match to the rush of earth.

A spokesman for the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force said they have not received any requests to help out with the disaster.

Badakhshan province borders Tajikistan to the north and China and Pakistan to the east.

“Badakhshan is a remote, mountainous region of Afghanistan, which has seen many natural disasters,” said the head of the IOM’s Afghanistan office, Richard Danziger. “But the scale of this landslide is absolutely devastating, with an entire village practically wiped away. Hundreds of families have lost everything.”

In addition to the wars and fighting that have plagued Afghanistan for roughly three decades, the country has been subject to repeated natural disasters including landslides and avalanches. A landslide in 2012 killed 71 people. Authorities were not able to recover the vast majority of bodies and ended up declaring the site a massive grave.

Santana reported from Kabul. Associated Press writer Rahim Faiez in Kabul contributed to this report.

Rescuers struggle to help Afghans hit by landslide

KDWN

ABI BARIK, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan rescuers and volunteers armed with shovels and little more than their bare hands dug through the mud Saturday after a massive landslide swept through a village the day before, turning it into an earthen tomb holding hundreds of bodies, officials said.

The government and aid groups rushed to bring food, water and shelter to the survivors as the government tried to ascertain just how many people were killed in the latest natural disaster to hit a country already reeling from nearly three decades of war.

Figures on the number of people killed and missing in the disaster Friday varied from 255 to 2,700. Fears of a new landslide complicated rescue efforts, as homes and residents sat buried under meters (yards) of mud.

“That will be their cemetery,” said Mohammad Karim Khalili, one of the country’s two vice presidents, who visited the scene Saturday. “It is not possible to bring out any bodies.”

Though figures on the death toll varied, residents knew the toll the tragedy had taken on their own families.

From atop a muddy hill, Begam Nesar pointed to the torrent of earth below that had wiped out much of her village. “Thirteen of my family members are under the mud,” she said, including her mother, father, brothers, sisters and children. She said she had been visiting relatives at a nearby village when the disaster struck.

The United Nations said Friday at least 350 people died, and the provincial governor said as many as 2,000 people were feared missing. On Saturday, the International Organization of Migration said information they gathered indicated 2,700 people were dead or missing.

Part of the confusion lay in the fact that no one knew how many people were home when the landslide struck.

At least 255 people were confirmed dead, Khalili said. Most of those were people who had rushed to the scene to help after a previous, smaller landslide. When a bigger landslide hit, those people along with roughly 300 homes were wiped out. But since no one knows how many people were in those homes, counting the dead is difficult, Khalili said.

Mohammad Aslam Seyas, deputy director of the Natural Disaster Management Authority, said fears of new landslides had slowed the operation.

The ground on a hill overlooking the village was soaked from recent heavy rainfalls that officials believe triggered the slide. About 1 kilometer (more than half a mile) away, government and aid groups set up tents for those displaced.

Few had time to flee before the mud wall caved in.

Sunatullah, a local farmer, was outside when he felt the earth start to move. He ran to his house, grabbed his wife and children and then ran to the top of a nearby hill. Minutes later, he said, part of the hill collapsed.

“The houses were just covered in mud,” he said, adding that he had lost 10 members of his extended family, his house and his livestock.

Authorities distributed food and water to survivors, said Abdullah Homayun Dehqan, the head of Badakhshan province’s National Disaster Department.

But residents were worried about more natural disasters to come.

“There are four valleys from where water can flow in here. If water flows in, the whole village would be under water,” said Jaan Mohammed.

Rescuers have struggled to reach the remote area, roughly 320 kilometers (200 miles) from the capital, Kabul. There is little development or infrastructure. Even getting heavy equipment such as bulldozers to the site – accessible only by narrow and bumpy dirt roads – was difficult. Most residents live in single-story mud houses that were no match to the rush of earth.

A spokesman for the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force said they have not received any requests to help out with the disaster.

Badakhshan province borders Tajikistan to the north and China and Pakistan to the east.

“Badakhshan is a remote, mountainous region of Afghanistan, which has seen many natural disasters,” said the head of the IOM’s Afghanistan office, Richard Danziger. “But the scale of this landslide is absolutely devastating, with an entire village practically wiped away. Hundreds of families have lost everything.”

In addition to the wars and fighting that have plagued Afghanistan for roughly three decades, the country has been subject to repeated natural disasters including landslides and avalanches. A landslide in 2012 killed 71 people. Authorities were not able to recover the vast majority of bodies and ended up declaring the site a massive grave.

Santana reported from Kabul. Associated Press writer Rahim Faiez in Kabul contributed to this report.

Rescuers struggle to help Afghans hit by landslide

KDWN

ABI BARIK, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan rescuers and volunteers armed with shovels and little more than their bare hands dug through the mud Saturday after a massive landslide swept through a village the day before, turning it into an earthen tomb holding hundreds of bodies, officials said.

The government and aid groups rushed to bring food, water and shelter to the survivors as the government tried to ascertain just how many people were killed in the latest natural disaster to hit a country already reeling from nearly three decades of war.

Figures on the number of people killed and missing in the disaster Friday varied from 255 to 2,700. Fears of a new landslide complicated rescue efforts, as homes and residents sat buried under meters (yards) of mud.

“That will be their cemetery,” said Mohammad Karim Khalili, one of the country’s two vice presidents, who visited the scene Saturday. “It is not possible to bring out any bodies.”

Though figures on the death toll varied, residents knew the toll the tragedy had taken on their own families.

From atop a muddy hill, Begam Nesar pointed to the torrent of earth below that had wiped out much of her village. “Thirteen of my family members are under the mud,” she said, including her mother, father, brothers, sisters and children. She said she had been visiting relatives at a nearby village when the disaster struck.

The United Nations said Friday at least 350 people died, and the provincial governor said as many as 2,000 people were feared missing. On Saturday, the International Organization of Migration said information they gathered indicated 2,700 people were dead or missing.

Part of the confusion lay in the fact that no one knew how many people were home when the landslide struck.

At least 255 people were confirmed dead, Khalili said. Most of those were people who had rushed to the scene to help after a previous, smaller landslide. When a bigger landslide hit, those people along with roughly 300 homes were wiped out. But since no one knows how many people were in those homes, counting the dead is difficult, Khalili said.

Mohammad Aslam Seyas, deputy director of the Natural Disaster Management Authority, said fears of new landslides had slowed the operation.

The ground on a hill overlooking the village was soaked from recent heavy rainfalls that officials believe triggered the slide. About 1 kilometer (more than half a mile) away, government and aid groups set up tents for those displaced.

Few had time to flee before the mud wall caved in.

Sunatullah, a local farmer, was outside when he felt the earth start to move. He ran to his house, grabbed his wife and children and then ran to the top of a nearby hill. Minutes later, he said, part of the hill collapsed.

“The houses were just covered in mud,” he said, adding that he had lost 10 members of his extended family, his house and his livestock.

Authorities distributed food and water to survivors, said Abdullah Homayun Dehqan, the head of Badakhshan province’s National Disaster Department.

But residents were worried about more natural disasters to come.

“There are four valleys from where water can flow in here. If water flows in, the whole village would be under water,” said Jaan Mohammed.

Rescuers have struggled to reach the remote area, roughly 320 kilometers (200 miles) from the capital, Kabul. There is little development or infrastructure. Even getting heavy equipment such as bulldozers to the site – accessible only by narrow and bumpy dirt roads – was difficult. Most residents live in single-story mud houses that were no match to the rush of earth.

A spokesman for the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force said they have not received any requests to help out with the disaster.

Badakhshan province borders Tajikistan to the north and China and Pakistan to the east.

“Badakhshan is a remote, mountainous region of Afghanistan, which has seen many natural disasters,” said the head of the IOM’s Afghanistan office, Richard Danziger. “But the scale of this landslide is absolutely devastating, with an entire village practically wiped away. Hundreds of families have lost everything.”

In addition to the wars and fighting that have plagued Afghanistan for roughly three decades, the country has been subject to repeated natural disasters including landslides and avalanches. A landslide in 2012 killed 71 people. Authorities were not able to recover the vast majority of bodies and ended up declaring the site a massive grave.

Santana reported from Kabul. Associated Press writer Rahim Faiez in Kabul contributed to this report.

Rescuers struggle to help Afghans hit by landslide

KDWN

ABI BARIK, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan rescuers and volunteers armed with shovels and little more than their bare hands dug through the mud Saturday after a massive landslide swept through a village the day before, turning it into an earthen tomb holding hundreds of bodies, officials said.

The government and aid groups rushed to bring food, water and shelter to the survivors as the government tried to ascertain just how many people were killed in the latest natural disaster to hit a country already reeling from nearly three decades of war.

Figures on the number of people killed and missing in the disaster Friday varied from 255 to 2,700. Fears of a new landslide complicated rescue efforts, as homes and residents sat buried under meters (yards) of mud.

“That will be their cemetery,” said Mohammad Karim Khalili, one of the country’s two vice presidents, who visited the scene Saturday. “It is not possible to bring out any bodies.”

Though figures on the death toll varied, residents knew the toll the tragedy had taken on their own families.

From atop a muddy hill, Begam Nesar pointed to the torrent of earth below that had wiped out much of her village. “Thirteen of my family members are under the mud,” she said, including her mother, father, brothers, sisters and children. She said she had been visiting relatives at a nearby village when the disaster struck.

The United Nations said Friday at least 350 people died, and the provincial governor said as many as 2,000 people were feared missing. On Saturday, the International Organization of Migration said information they gathered indicated 2,700 people were dead or missing.

Part of the confusion lay in the fact that no one knew how many people were home when the landslide struck.

At least 255 people were confirmed dead, Khalili said. Most of those were people who had rushed to the scene to help after a previous, smaller landslide. When a bigger landslide hit, those people along with roughly 300 homes were wiped out. But since no one knows how many people were in those homes, counting the dead is difficult, Khalili said.

Mohammad Aslam Seyas, deputy director of the Natural Disaster Management Authority, said fears of new landslides had slowed the operation.

The ground on a hill overlooking the village was soaked from recent heavy rainfalls that officials believe triggered the slide. About 1 kilometer (more than half a mile) away, government and aid groups set up tents for those displaced.

Few had time to flee before the mud wall caved in.

Sunatullah, a local farmer, was outside when he felt the earth start to move. He ran to his house, grabbed his wife and children and then ran to the top of a nearby hill. Minutes later, he said, part of the hill collapsed.

“The houses were just covered in mud,” he said, adding that he had lost 10 members of his extended family, his house and his livestock.

Authorities distributed food and water to survivors, said Abdullah Homayun Dehqan, the head of Badakhshan province’s National Disaster Department.

But residents were worried about more natural disasters to come.

“There are four valleys from where water can flow in here. If water flows in, the whole village would be under water,” said Jaan Mohammed.

Rescuers have struggled to reach the remote area, roughly 320 kilometers (200 miles) from the capital, Kabul. There is little development or infrastructure. Even getting heavy equipment such as bulldozers to the site – accessible only by narrow and bumpy dirt roads – was difficult. Most residents live in single-story mud houses that were no match to the rush of earth.

A spokesman for the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force said they have not received any requests to help out with the disaster.

Badakhshan province borders Tajikistan to the north and China and Pakistan to the east.

“Badakhshan is a remote, mountainous region of Afghanistan, which has seen many natural disasters,” said the head of the IOM’s Afghanistan office, Richard Danziger. “But the scale of this landslide is absolutely devastating, with an entire village practically wiped away. Hundreds of families have lost everything.”

In addition to the wars and fighting that have plagued Afghanistan for roughly three decades, the country has been subject to repeated natural disasters including landslides and avalanches. A landslide in 2012 killed 71 people. Authorities were not able to recover the vast majority of bodies and ended up declaring the site a massive grave.

Santana reported from Kabul. Associated Press writer Rahim Faiez in Kabul contributed to this report.

Rescuers struggle to help Afghans hit by landslide

KDWN

ABI BARIK, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan rescuers and volunteers armed with shovels and little more than their bare hands dug through the mud Saturday after a massive landslide swept through a village the day before, turning it into an earthen tomb holding hundreds of bodies, officials said.

The government and aid groups rushed to bring food, water and shelter to the survivors as the government tried to ascertain just how many people were killed in the latest natural disaster to hit a country already reeling from nearly three decades of war.

Figures on the number of people killed and missing in the disaster Friday varied from 255 to 2,700. Fears of a new landslide complicated rescue efforts, as homes and residents sat buried under meters (yards) of mud.

“That will be their cemetery,” said Mohammad Karim Khalili, one of the country’s two vice presidents, who visited the scene Saturday. “It is not possible to bring out any bodies.”

Though figures on the death toll varied, residents knew the toll the tragedy had taken on their own families.

From atop a muddy hill, Begam Nesar pointed to the torrent of earth below that had wiped out much of her village. “Thirteen of my family members are under the mud,” she said, including her mother, father, brothers, sisters and children. She said she had been visiting relatives at a nearby village when the disaster struck.

The United Nations said Friday at least 350 people died, and the provincial governor said as many as 2,000 people were feared missing. On Saturday, the International Organization of Migration said information they gathered indicated 2,700 people were dead or missing.

Part of the confusion lay in the fact that no one knew how many people were home when the landslide struck.

At least 255 people were confirmed dead, Khalili said. Most of those were people who had rushed to the scene to help after a previous, smaller landslide. When a bigger landslide hit, those people along with roughly 300 homes were wiped out. But since no one knows how many people were in those homes, counting the dead is difficult, Khalili said.

Mohammad Aslam Seyas, deputy director of the Natural Disaster Management Authority, said fears of new landslides had slowed the operation.

The ground on a hill overlooking the village was soaked from recent heavy rainfalls that officials believe triggered the slide. About 1 kilometer (more than half a mile) away, government and aid groups set up tents for those displaced.

Few had time to flee before the mud wall caved in.

Sunatullah, a local farmer, was outside when he felt the earth start to move. He ran to his house, grabbed his wife and children and then ran to the top of a nearby hill. Minutes later, he said, part of the hill collapsed.

“The houses were just covered in mud,” he said, adding that he had lost 10 members of his extended family, his house and his livestock.

Authorities distributed food and water to survivors, said Abdullah Homayun Dehqan, the head of Badakhshan province’s National Disaster Department.

But residents were worried about more natural disasters to come.

“There are four valleys from where water can flow in here. If water flows in, the whole village would be under water,” said Jaan Mohammed.

Rescuers have struggled to reach the remote area, roughly 320 kilometers (200 miles) from the capital, Kabul. There is little development or infrastructure. Even getting heavy equipment such as bulldozers to the site – accessible only by narrow and bumpy dirt roads – was difficult. Most residents live in single-story mud houses that were no match to the rush of earth.

A spokesman for the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force said they have not received any requests to help out with the disaster.

Badakhshan province borders Tajikistan to the north and China and Pakistan to the east.

“Badakhshan is a remote, mountainous region of Afghanistan, which has seen many natural disasters,” said the head of the IOM’s Afghanistan office, Richard Danziger. “But the scale of this landslide is absolutely devastating, with an entire village practically wiped away. Hundreds of families have lost everything.”

In addition to the wars and fighting that have plagued Afghanistan for roughly three decades, the country has been subject to repeated natural disasters including landslides and avalanches. A landslide in 2012 killed 71 people. Authorities were not able to recover the vast majority of bodies and ended up declaring the site a massive grave.

Santana reported from Kabul. Associated Press writer Rahim Faiez in Kabul contributed to this report.

Rescuers struggle to help Afghans hit by landslide

KDWN

ABI BARIK, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan rescuers and hundreds of volunteers armed with shovels and little more than their bare hands dug through earth and mud Saturday looking for survivors or bodies of loved ones killed by a massive landslide in the remote northeast.

Figures on the number of people killed and missing in the disaster Friday varied from 255 to 2,700 as officials tried to gather precise information. Fears of a new landslide complicated rescue efforts, and with homes and residents buried under meters (yards) of mud, officials said the earth from the landslide likely would be their final resting place.

“That will be their cemetery,” said Mohammad Karim Khalili, one of the country’s two vice presidents, who visited the scene Saturday. “It is not possible to bring out any bodies.”

Though figures on the death toll varied, residents knew the toll the tragedy had taken on their own families.

From atop a muddy hill, Begam Nesar pointed to the torrent of earth below that had wiped out much of her village. “Thirteen of my family members are under the mud,” she said, including her mother, father, brothers, sisters and children. She said she had been visiting relatives at a nearby village when the disaster struck.

The United Nations said Friday at least 350 people died, and the provincial governor said as many as 2,000 people were feared missing. On Saturday, the International Organization of Migration said information they gathered from provincial figures and local community leaders indicated that 2,700 people were dead or missing.

Part of the confusion lay in the fact that no one knew how many people were home when the landslide struck. At least 255 people were confirmed dead, Khalili said. Most of those were people who had rushed to the scene to help after a previous, smaller landslide. When a bigger landslide then struck the area, those people along with roughly 300 homes were wiped out. But since no one knows how many people were in those 300 homes, it remains difficult to account for the dead, Khalili said.

Mohammad Aslam Seyas, deputy director of the Natural Disaster Management Authority, said fears of new landslides had slowed the operation.

“Search and rescue operations are going on very slowly,” Seyas said.

The ground on a hill overlooking the village was soaked from recent heavy rainfalls that officials believe triggered the slide. About 1 kilometer (more than half a mile) away, government and aid groups had set up tents to care for people displaced by the disaster.

Sunatullah, a local farmer, was working outside when he felt the earth start to move. He said he ran toward his house, grabbed his wife and children and then ran to the top of a nearby hill. Minutes later, he said, part of the hill collapsed.

“The houses were just covered in mud,” he said, adding that he had lost 10 members of his extended family, his house and his livestock.

Authorities distributed food and water to people displaced by the landslides, said Abdullah Homayun Dehqan, the head of Badakhshan province’s National Disaster Department.

A memorial ceremony is planned for later Saturday, United Nations spokesman Ari Gaitanis said.

Rescuers have struggled to reach the remote area, where there is little development or infrastructure. The province borders Tajikistan to the north and China and Pakistan to the east.

“Badakhshan is a remote, mountainous region of Afghanistan, which has seen many natural disasters,” said the head of the IOM’s Afghanistan office, Richard Danziger. “But the scale of this landslide is absolutely devastating, with an entire village practically wiped away. Hundreds of families have lost everything.”

In addition to the wars and fighting that have plagued Afghanistan for roughly three decades, the country has been subject to repeated natural disasters including landslides and avalanches. A landslide in 2012 killed 71 people. Authorities were not able to recover the vast majority of bodies and ended up declaring the site a massive grave.

Faiez reported from Kabul. Associated Press writer Rebecca Santana in Kabul contributed to this report.

Rescuers struggle to help Afghans hit by landslide

KDWN

ABI BARIK, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan rescuers and hundreds of volunteers armed with shovels and little more than their bare hands dug through earth and mud Saturday looking for survivors or bodies of loved ones killed by a massive landslide in the remote northeast.

Figures on the number of people killed and missing in the disaster Friday varied from 255 to 2,700 as officials tried to gather precise information. Fears of a new landslide complicated rescue efforts, and with homes and residents buried under meters (yards) of mud, officials said the earth from the landslide likely would be their final resting place.

“That will be their cemetery,” said Mohammad Karim Khalili, one of the country’s two vice presidents, who visited the scene Saturday. “It is not possible to bring out any bodies.”

Though figures on the death toll varied, residents knew the toll the tragedy had taken on their own families.

From atop a muddy hill, Begam Nesar pointed to the torrent of earth below that had wiped out much of her village. “Thirteen of my family members are under the mud,” she said, including her mother, father, brothers, sisters and children. She said she had been visiting relatives at a nearby village when the disaster struck.

The United Nations said Friday at least 350 people died, and the provincial governor said as many as 2,000 people were feared missing. On Saturday, the International Organization of Migration said information they gathered from provincial figures and local community leaders indicated that 2,700 people were dead or missing.

Part of the confusion lay in the fact that no one knew how many people were home when the landslide struck. At least 255 people were confirmed dead, Khalili said. Most of those were people who had rushed to the scene to help after a previous, smaller landslide. When a bigger landslide then struck the area, those people along with roughly 300 homes were wiped out. But since no one knows how many people were in those 300 homes, it remains difficult to account for the dead, Khalili said.

Mohammad Aslam Seyas, deputy director of the Natural Disaster Management Authority, said fears of new landslides had slowed the operation.

“Search and rescue operations are going on very slowly,” Seyas said.

The ground on a hill overlooking the village was soaked from recent heavy rainfalls that officials believe triggered the slide. About 1 kilometer (more than half a mile) away, government and aid groups had set up tents to care for people displaced by the disaster.

Sunatullah, a local farmer, was working outside when he felt the earth start to move. He said he ran toward his house, grabbed his wife and children and then ran to the top of a nearby hill. Minutes later, he said, part of the hill collapsed.

“The houses were just covered in mud,” he said, adding that he had lost 10 members of his extended family, his house and his livestock.

Authorities distributed food and water to people displaced by the landslides, said Abdullah Homayun Dehqan, the head of Badakhshan province’s National Disaster Department.

A memorial ceremony is planned for later Saturday, United Nations spokesman Ari Gaitanis said.

Rescuers have struggled to reach the remote area, where there is little development or infrastructure. The province borders Tajikistan to the north and China and Pakistan to the east.

“Badakhshan is a remote, mountainous region of Afghanistan, which has seen many natural disasters,” said the head of the IOM’s Afghanistan office, Richard Danziger. “But the scale of this landslide is absolutely devastating, with an entire village practically wiped away. Hundreds of families have lost everything.”

In addition to the wars and fighting that have plagued Afghanistan for roughly three decades, the country has been subject to repeated natural disasters including landslides and avalanches. A landslide in 2012 killed 71 people. Authorities were not able to recover the vast majority of bodies and ended up declaring the site a massive grave.

Faiez reported from Kabul. Associated Press writer Rebecca Santana in Kabul contributed to this report.

Rescuers struggle to help Afghans hit by landslide

KDWN

ABI BARIK, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan rescuers and hundreds of volunteers armed with shovels and little more than their bare hands dug through earth and mud Saturday looking for survivors or bodies of loved ones killed by a massive landslide in the remote northeast.

Figures on the number of people killed and missing in the disaster Friday varied from 255 to 2,700 as officials tried to gather precise information. Fears of a new landslide complicated rescue efforts, and with homes and residents buried under meters (yards) of mud, officials said the earth from the landslide likely would be their final resting place.

“That will be their cemetery,” said Mohammad Karim Khalili, one of the country’s two vice presidents, who visited the scene Saturday. “It is not possible to bring out any bodies.”

Though figures on the death toll varied, residents knew the toll the tragedy had taken on their own families.

From atop a muddy hill, Begam Nesar pointed to the torrent of earth below that had wiped out much of her village. “Thirteen of my family members are under the mud,” she said, including her mother, father, brothers, sisters and children. She said she had been visiting relatives at a nearby village when the disaster struck.

The United Nations said Friday at least 350 people died, and the provincial governor said as many as 2,000 people were feared missing. On Saturday, the International Organization of Migration said information they gathered from provincial figures and local community leaders indicated that 2,700 people were dead or missing.

Part of the confusion lay in the fact that no one knew how many people were home when the landslide struck. At least 255 people were confirmed dead, Khalili said. Most of those were people who had rushed to the scene to help after a previous, smaller landslide. When a bigger landslide then struck the area, those people along with roughly 300 homes were wiped out. But since no one knows how many people were in those 300 homes, it remains difficult to account for the dead, Khalili said.

Mohammad Aslam Seyas, deputy director of the Natural Disaster Management Authority, said fears of new landslides had slowed the operation.

“Search and rescue operations are going on very slowly,” Seyas said.

The ground on a hill overlooking the village was soaked from recent heavy rainfalls that officials believe triggered the slide. About 1 kilometer (more than half a mile) away, government and aid groups had set up tents to care for people displaced by the disaster.

Sunatullah, a local farmer, was working outside when he felt the earth start to move. He said he ran toward his house, grabbed his wife and children and then ran to the top of a nearby hill. Minutes later, he said, part of the hill collapsed.

“The houses were just covered in mud,” he said, adding that he had lost 10 members of his extended family, his house and his livestock.

Authorities distributed food and water to people displaced by the landslides, said Abdullah Homayun Dehqan, the head of Badakhshan province’s National Disaster Department.

A memorial ceremony is planned for later Saturday, United Nations spokesman Ari Gaitanis said.

Rescuers have struggled to reach the remote area, where there is little development or infrastructure. The province borders Tajikistan to the north and China and Pakistan to the east.

“Badakhshan is a remote, mountainous region of Afghanistan, which has seen many natural disasters,” said the head of the IOM’s Afghanistan office, Richard Danziger. “But the scale of this landslide is absolutely devastating, with an entire village practically wiped away. Hundreds of families have lost everything.”

In addition to the wars and fighting that have plagued Afghanistan for roughly three decades, the country has been subject to repeated natural disasters including landslides and avalanches. A landslide in 2012 killed 71 people. Authorities were not able to recover the vast majority of bodies and ended up declaring the site a massive grave.

Faiez reported from Kabul. Associated Press writer Rebecca Santana in Kabul contributed to this report.

Rescuers struggle to help Afghans hit by landslide

KDWN

ABI BARIK, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan rescuers and hundreds of volunteers armed with shovels and little more than their bare hands dug through earth and mud Saturday looking for survivors or bodies of loved ones killed by a massive landslide in the remote northeast.

Figures on the number of people killed and missing in the disaster Friday varied from 255 to 2,700 as officials tried to gather precise information. Fears of a new landslide complicated rescue efforts, and with homes and residents buried under meters (yards) of mud, officials said the earth from the landslide likely would be their final resting place.

“That will be their cemetery,” said Mohammad Karim Khalili, one of the country’s two vice presidents, who visited the scene Saturday. “It is not possible to bring out any bodies.”

Though figures on the death toll varied, residents knew the toll the tragedy had taken on their own families.

From atop a muddy hill, Begam Nesar pointed to the torrent of earth below that had wiped out much of her village. “Thirteen of my family members are under the mud,” she said, including her mother, father, brothers, sisters and children. She said she had been visiting relatives at a nearby village when the disaster struck.

The United Nations said Friday at least 350 people died, and the provincial governor said as many as 2,000 people were feared missing. On Saturday, the International Organization of Migration said information they gathered from provincial figures and local community leaders indicated that 2,700 people were dead or missing.

Part of the confusion lay in the fact that no one knew how many people were home when the landslide struck. At least 255 people were confirmed dead, Khalili said. Most of those were people who had rushed to the scene to help after a previous, smaller landslide. When a bigger landslide then struck the area, those people along with roughly 300 homes were wiped out. But since no one knows how many people were in those 300 homes, it remains difficult to account for the dead, Khalili said.

Mohammad Aslam Seyas, deputy director of the Natural Disaster Management Authority, said fears of new landslides had slowed the operation.

“Search and rescue operations are going on very slowly,” Seyas said.

The ground on a hill overlooking the village was soaked from recent heavy rainfalls that officials believe triggered the slide. About 1 kilometer (more than half a mile) away, government and aid groups had set up tents to care for people displaced by the disaster.

Sunatullah, a local farmer, was working outside when he felt the earth start to move. He said he ran toward his house, grabbed his wife and children and then ran to the top of a nearby hill. Minutes later, he said, part of the hill collapsed.

“The houses were just covered in mud,” he said, adding that he had lost 10 members of his extended family, his house and his livestock.

Authorities distributed food and water to people displaced by the landslides, said Abdullah Homayun Dehqan, the head of Badakhshan province’s National Disaster Department.

A memorial ceremony is planned for later Saturday, United Nations spokesman Ari Gaitanis said.

Rescuers have struggled to reach the remote area, where there is little development or infrastructure. The province borders Tajikistan to the north and China and Pakistan to the east.

“Badakhshan is a remote, mountainous region of Afghanistan, which has seen many natural disasters,” said the head of the IOM’s Afghanistan office, Richard Danziger. “But the scale of this landslide is absolutely devastating, with an entire village practically wiped away. Hundreds of families have lost everything.”

In addition to the wars and fighting that have plagued Afghanistan for roughly three decades, the country has been subject to repeated natural disasters including landslides and avalanches. A landslide in 2012 killed 71 people. Authorities were not able to recover the vast majority of bodies and ended up declaring the site a massive grave.

Faiez reported from Kabul. Associated Press writer Rebecca Santana in Kabul contributed to this report.

Rescuers struggle to help Afghans hit by landslide

KDWN

ABI BARIK, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan rescuers and hundreds of volunteers armed with shovels and little more than their bare hands dug through earth and mud Saturday looking for survivors or bodies of loved ones killed by a massive landslide in the remote northeast.

Figures on the number of people killed and missing in the disaster Friday varied from 255 to 2,700 as officials tried to gather precise information. Fears of a new landslide complicated rescue efforts, and with homes and residents buried under meters (yards) of mud, officials said the earth from the landslide likely would be their final resting place.

“That will be their cemetery,” said Mohammad Karim Khalili, one of the country’s two vice presidents, who visited the scene Saturday. “It is not possible to bring out any bodies.”

Though figures on the death toll varied, residents knew the toll the tragedy had taken on their own families.

From atop a muddy hill, Begam Nesar pointed to the torrent of earth below that had wiped out much of her village. “Thirteen of my family members are under the mud,” she said, including her mother, father, brothers, sisters and children. She said she had been visiting relatives at a nearby village when the disaster struck.

The United Nations said Friday at least 350 people died, and the provincial governor said as many as 2,000 people were feared missing. On Saturday, the International Organization of Migration said information they gathered from provincial figures and local community leaders indicated that 2,700 people were dead or missing.

Part of the confusion lay in the fact that no one knew how many people were home when the landslide struck. At least 255 people were confirmed dead, Khalili said. Most of those were people who had rushed to the scene to help after a previous, smaller landslide. When a bigger landslide then struck the area, those people along with roughly 300 homes were wiped out. But since no one knows how many people were in those 300 homes, it remains difficult to account for the dead, Khalili said.

Mohammad Aslam Seyas, deputy director of the Natural Disaster Management Authority, said fears of new landslides had slowed the operation.

“Search and rescue operations are going on very slowly,” Seyas said.

The ground on a hill overlooking the village was soaked from recent heavy rainfalls that officials believe triggered the slide. About 1 kilometer (more than half a mile) away, government and aid groups had set up tents to care for people displaced by the disaster.

Sunatullah, a local farmer, was working outside when he felt the earth start to move. He said he ran toward his house, grabbed his wife and children and then ran to the top of a nearby hill. Minutes later, he said, part of the hill collapsed.

“The houses were just covered in mud,” he said, adding that he had lost 10 members of his extended family, his house and his livestock.

Authorities distributed food and water to people displaced by the landslides, said Abdullah Homayun Dehqan, the head of Badakhshan province’s National Disaster Department.

A memorial ceremony is planned for later Saturday, United Nations spokesman Ari Gaitanis said.

Rescuers have struggled to reach the remote area, where there is little development or infrastructure. The province borders Tajikistan to the north and China and Pakistan to the east.

“Badakhshan is a remote, mountainous region of Afghanistan, which has seen many natural disasters,” said the head of the IOM’s Afghanistan office, Richard Danziger. “But the scale of this landslide is absolutely devastating, with an entire village practically wiped away. Hundreds of families have lost everything.”

In addition to the wars and fighting that have plagued Afghanistan for roughly three decades, the country has been subject to repeated natural disasters including landslides and avalanches. A landslide in 2012 killed 71 people. Authorities were not able to recover the vast majority of bodies and ended up declaring the site a massive grave.

Faiez reported from Kabul. Associated Press writer Rebecca Santana in Kabul contributed to this report.

Rescuers struggle to help Afghans hit by landslide

KDWN

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan rescuers and hundreds of volunteers armed with shovels rushed on Saturday to help villagers hit by a massive landslide in the remote northeast a day earlier, officials said, while fears of a new torrent of mud and earth complicated rescue efforts.

Figures on the number of people killed in the disaster varied as officials try to gather precise information from the village of Hobo Barak.

Abdullah Homayun Dehqan, the director of Badakshan province’s National Disaster Department, said he did not have an exact number of how many people were killed. The United Nations on Friday said at least 350 people died, and the provincial governor said as many as 2,000 people were feared missing.

Afghanistan deputy director of the Natural Disaster Management Authority, Mohammad Aslam Seyas, said Saturday that 255 people had died. He said villagers believe the number is higher, but said judging by previous experiences that the 255 figure seems more realistic.

“Search and rescue operations are going on very slowly,” Seyas said, adding that fear of new landslides had slowed the operation.

Friday’s damage was actually caused by two landslides from the hilly terrain, said Dehqan. The first, smaller one covered a few houses. When people rushed in to help, a second, bigger landslide came down, burying the rescuers and more houses, he said.

Another official with the authority, Ahmad Khan Nafeh, said initial reports suggest that 120 houses had been buried under the mud. Speaking on Afghan television, he said he did not have any information on the number killed or missing but said it was unlikely that anyone buried underneath would be found alive.

“I don’t think any human who would have been buried under all that mud for more than 12 hours or so, would have been alive,” he said.

Authorities were distributing food and water to people displaced by the landslides, said Dehqan.

A memorial ceremony is planned for later Saturday, and the site is expected to be designated as a mass grave, said U.N. spokesman Ari Gaitanis. Senior officials from Kabul including one of the country’s two vice presidents were flying to Badakshan province to check on the status of the operation.

Rescuers have struggled to reach the remote area in northeastern Afghanistan, where there is little development or infrastructure. Heavy rains earlier this week contributed to the landslide.

In addition to the wars and fighting that have plagued Afghanistan for roughly three decades, the country has been subject to repeated natural disasters including landslides and avalanches. A landslide in 2012 killed 71 people. Authorities were not able to recover the vast majority of bodies and ended up declaring the site a massive grave.

Associated Press writer Rebecca Santana contributed to this report.

Rescuers struggle to help Afghans hit by landslide

KDWN

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan rescuers and hundreds of volunteers armed with shovels rushed on Saturday to help villagers hit by a massive landslide in the remote northeast a day earlier, officials said, while fears of a new torrent of mud and earth complicated rescue efforts.

Figures on the number of people killed in the disaster varied as officials try to gather precise information from the village of Hobo Barak.

Abdullah Homayun Dehqan, the director of Badakshan province’s National Disaster Department, said he did not have an exact number of how many people were killed. The United Nations on Friday said at least 350 people died, and the provincial governor said as many as 2,000 people were feared missing.

Afghanistan deputy director of the Natural Disaster Management Authority, Mohammad Aslam Seyas, said Saturday that 255 people had died. He said villagers believe the number is higher, but said judging by previous experiences that the 255 figure seems more realistic.

“Search and rescue operations are going on very slowly,” Seyas said, adding that fear of new landslides had slowed the operation.

Friday’s damage was actually caused by two landslides from the hilly terrain, said Dehqan. The first, smaller one covered a few houses. When people rushed in to help, a second, bigger landslide came down, burying the rescuers and more houses, he said.

Another official with the authority, Ahmad Khan Nafeh, said initial reports suggest that 120 houses had been buried under the mud. Speaking on Afghan television, he said he did not have any information on the number killed or missing but said it was unlikely that anyone buried underneath would be found alive.

“I don’t think any human who would have been buried under all that mud for more than 12 hours or so, would have been alive,” he said.

Authorities were distributing food and water to people displaced by the landslides, said Dehqan.

A memorial ceremony is planned for later Saturday, and the site is expected to be designated as a mass grave, said U.N. spokesman Ari Gaitanis. Senior officials from Kabul including one of the country’s two vice presidents were flying to Badakshan province to check on the status of the operation.

Rescuers have struggled to reach the remote area in northeastern Afghanistan, where there is little development or infrastructure. Heavy rains earlier this week contributed to the landslide.

In addition to the wars and fighting that have plagued Afghanistan for roughly three decades, the country has been subject to repeated natural disasters including landslides and avalanches. A landslide in 2012 killed 71 people. Authorities were not able to recover the vast majority of bodies and ended up declaring the site a massive grave.

Associated Press writer Rebecca Santana contributed to this report.

Rescuers struggle to help Afghans hit by landslide

KDWN

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan rescuers and hundreds of volunteers armed with shovels rushed on Saturday to help villagers hit by a massive landslide in the remote northeast a day earlier, officials said, while fears of a new torrent of mud and earth complicated rescue efforts.

Figures on the number of people killed in the disaster varied as officials try to gather precise information from the village of Hobo Barak.

Abdullah Homayun Dehqan, the director of Badakshan province’s National Disaster Department, said he did not have an exact number of how many people were killed. The United Nations on Friday said at least 350 people died, and the provincial governor said as many as 2,000 people were feared missing.

Afghanistan deputy director of the Natural Disaster Management Authority, Mohammad Aslam Seyas, said Saturday that 255 people had died. He said villagers believe the number is higher, but said judging by previous experiences that the 255 figure seems more realistic.

“Search and rescue operations are going on very slowly,” Seyas said, adding that fear of new landslides had slowed the operation.

Friday’s damage was actually caused by two landslides from the hilly terrain, said Dehqan. The first, smaller one covered a few houses. When people rushed in to help, a second, bigger landslide came down, burying the rescuers and more houses, he said.

Another official with the authority, Ahmad Khan Nafeh, said initial reports suggest that 120 houses had been buried under the mud. Speaking on Afghan television, he said he did not have any information on the number killed or missing but said it was unlikely that anyone buried underneath would be found alive.

“I don’t think any human who would have been buried under all that mud for more than 12 hours or so, would have been alive,” he said.

Authorities were distributing food and water to people displaced by the landslides, said Dehqan.

A memorial ceremony is planned for later Saturday, and the site is expected to be designated as a mass grave, said U.N. spokesman Ari Gaitanis. Senior officials from Kabul including one of the country’s two vice presidents were flying to Badakshan province to check on the status of the operation.

Rescuers have struggled to reach the remote area in northeastern Afghanistan, where there is little development or infrastructure. Heavy rains earlier this week contributed to the landslide.

In addition to the wars and fighting that have plagued Afghanistan for roughly three decades, the country has been subject to repeated natural disasters including landslides and avalanches. A landslide in 2012 killed 71 people. Authorities were not able to recover the vast majority of bodies and ended up declaring the site a massive grave.

Associated Press writer Rebecca Santana contributed to this report.

Rescuers struggle to help Afghans hit by landslide

KDWN

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan rescuers and hundreds of volunteers armed with shovels rushed on Saturday to help villagers hit by a massive landslide in the remote northeast a day earlier, officials said, while fears of a new torrent of mud and earth complicated rescue efforts.

Figures on the number of people killed in the disaster varied as officials try to gather precise information from the village of Hobo Barak.

Abdullah Homayun Dehqan, the director of Badakshan province’s National Disaster Department, said he did not have an exact number of how many people were killed. The United Nations on Friday said at least 350 people died, and the provincial governor said as many as 2,000 people were feared missing.

Afghanistan deputy director of the Natural Disaster Management Authority, Mohammad Aslam Seyas, said Saturday that 255 people had died. He said villagers believe the number is higher, but said judging by previous experiences that the 255 figure seems more realistic.

“Search and rescue operations are going on very slowly,” Seyas said, adding that fear of new landslides had slowed the operation.

Friday’s damage was actually caused by two landslides from the hilly terrain, said Dehqan. The first, smaller one covered a few houses. When people rushed in to help, a second, bigger landslide came down, burying the rescuers and more houses, he said.

Another official with the authority, Ahmad Khan Nafeh, said initial reports suggest that 120 houses had been buried under the mud. Speaking on Afghan television, he said he did not have any information on the number killed or missing but said it was unlikely that anyone buried underneath would be found alive.

“I don’t think any human who would have been buried under all that mud for more than 12 hours or so, would have been alive,” he said.

Authorities were distributing food and water to people displaced by the landslides, said Dehqan.

A memorial ceremony is planned for later Saturday, and the site is expected to be designated as a mass grave, said U.N. spokesman Ari Gaitanis. Senior officials from Kabul including one of the country’s two vice presidents were flying to Badakshan province to check on the status of the operation.

Rescuers have struggled to reach the remote area in northeastern Afghanistan, where there is little development or infrastructure. Heavy rains earlier this week contributed to the landslide.

In addition to the wars and fighting that have plagued Afghanistan for roughly three decades, the country has been subject to repeated natural disasters including landslides and avalanches. A landslide in 2012 killed 71 people. Authorities were not able to recover the vast majority of bodies and ended up declaring the site a massive grave.

Associated Press writer Rebecca Santana contributed to this report.

Rescuers struggle to help Afghans hit by landslide

KDWN

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan rescuers and hundreds of volunteers armed with shovels rushed on Saturday to help villagers hit by a massive landslide in the remote northeast a day earlier, officials said, as fears of a new torrent of mud and earth complicated rescue efforts.

Abdullah Homayun Dehqan, the director of Badakshan province’s National Disaster Department, said he did not have an exact figure on how many people were killed in the village of Hobo Barak, although the United Nations on Friday said at least 350 people had died and the provincial governor said as many as 2,000 people were feared missing.

A memorial ceremony is planned for later Saturday, and the site is expected to be designated as a mass grave, said U.N. spokesman Ari Gaitanis. Senior officials from Kabul including one of the country’s two vice presidents were flying to Badakshan province to check on the status of the operation.

Rescuers have struggled to reach the remote area in northeastern Afghanistan, where there is little development or infrastructure. Heavy rains earlier this week contributed to the landslide.

In addition to the wars and fighting that have plagued Afghanistan for roughly three decades, the country has been subject to repeated natural disasters including landslides and avalanches. A landslide in 2012 killed 71 people. Authorities were not able to recover the vast majority of bodies and ended up declaring the site a massive grave.