Afghanistan landslide: Over 2,000 feared dead in remote north-eastern village after mountainside collapses

The local Governor is concerned that the search operation is being hindered by a lack of appropriate equipment

Officials in Afghanistan have said that at least 2,000 people are feared dead after a mountainside collapsed causing a massive landslide in a remote region of the country.

Seven people were pulled alive from the mud and debris that flattened 300 homes but rescuers were pessimistic about anyone else being alive beneath the piles of earth.

Many victims were villagers who dashed to help their neighbours when a landslide struck but were then caught in a second wave of mud. It was reported that a wedding was taking place in the village.

“Now we can only help the displaced people. Those trapped under the landslide and who have lost lives, it is impossible to do anything for them,” said Major General Faziluddin Hayar, the Badakhshan provincial police chief.

Those who were caught by the catastrophic landslip were from the village of Hobo Barik, about a third of which was wiped out, and most would have been at home rather than at work because it was a day of worship.

Up to 600 people from nearby villages made their way to Hobo Barik, in the north east of the country, to try to help the rescue operation but were severely hampered by a lack of shovels and machinery. The mud covering the devastated village was said to be several metres thick.

The landslide is believed to have been triggered by heavy rain which has swept the region for several days The landslide is believed to have been triggered by heavy rain which has swept the region for several days  

The landslide is believed to have been triggered by heavy rain which has swept the region for several days. Landslide and avalanches are common in the province but are rarely so deadly.

Ari Gaitanis, of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, said 350 people had been confirmed dead and that the UN is trying to help the rescue operation.

Shah Waliullah Adeeb, the regional governor, said more than 2,000 people had yet to be accounted for and he issued a plea for equipment: “It’s physically impossible right now. We don’t have enough shovels; we need more machinery.”

Mohammad Zakria Sauda, a local MP, said the casualties included many children, and he estimated the likely death toll at 1,000 people. “At first a small part of the hill came down, and then when people went to help the other big part came down,” he said. “Casualties could be as many as 1,000 people. Children, women are stuck under the soil.”

Badakhshan province, in the Hindu Kush and Pamir mountain ranges and bordering China, is one of the most remote in the country Badakhshan province, in the Hindu Kush and Pamir mountain ranges and bordering China, is one of the most remote in the country  

President Barack Obama, speaking at a White House news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, expressed his sympathy for the Afghan people.

“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.

Badakhshan province, in the Hindu Kush and Pamir mountain ranges and bordering China, is one of the most remote in the country.

A landslide in Baghlan province, also in northeastern Afghanistan, killed 71 people in 2012. After days of digging unearthed only five bodies, authorities decided to halt the recovery effort and turn the area into a memorial for the dead. In February 2010 more than 170 people were killed by an avalanche at the 12,700-foot-high (3,800-meter) Salang Pass, which is the major route through the Hindu Kush mountains that connects the capital to the north.

Independent staff contributed to this report

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jay Z has placed a bet on streaming being the future for music and videos
music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury
music
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
  • Get to the point
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own