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Afghan Police, Villagers Clash at Site of Massive Landslide

Afghan police fired shots into the air Tuesday to disperse villagers demanding aid at the site of a massive landslide in northeastern Afghanistan.

Authorities say no one was injured when several people rushed toward a truck carrying emergency supplies to those affected by last week's landslide.

Hundreds of people in the village of Abi Barik in Badakhshan province were buried when the side of a mountain collapsed following days of heavy rain. At least 2,000 people have been displaced in one of the worst natural disasters to hit Afghanistan.

Officials are struggling to get aid to the remote Argo district. Tensions are high as some witnesses say residents of nearby villages have traveled to the district to get handouts of food and other supplies.

The deputy director of Afghanistan's disaster management agency, Mohammad Aslam Syass, told VOA's Afghanistan service that despite the presence of relief teams on the scene, "we will face many problems and difficulties in aid management and distribution during this time and until the end of this big tragedy."



An exact death toll is not yet known. Syass said Tuesday that 292 people have been killed according to official records, but the actual number is much higher.

U.N. Deputy Humanitarian Chief Kyung-wha Kang wrapped up a visit to Afghanistan on Tuesday. She traveled to Badakhshan and met with national and provincial officials. The U.N. says Kang "highlighted the longer term needs of people displaced by natural disasters in the country, as well as the importance of disaster risk reduction."

Kang said the international community needs to continue helping strengthen the Afghan government's ability to prepare and respond to disasters. The U.N. says recent floods caused by melting snow and heavy rain have killed hundreds of people and displaced more than 70,000 others throughout Afghanistan.

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