News / Asia

Thousands Feared Dead in Afghan Landslide

Afghans search for survivors after landslide buried in Abi-Barik village in Badakhshan province, northeastern Afghanistan, May 3, 2014.
Afghans search for survivors after landslide buried in Abi-Barik village in Badakhshan province, northeastern Afghanistan, May 3, 2014.
Sharon Behn
Rescuers are desperately searching through tons of mud and rock debris for survivors of a massive landslide in Afghanistan's remote Badakshan province. Estimates of the death toll range from 250 to 2,000, and more landslides are expected.

Using their bare hands and shovels, rescuers on Saturday were trying to dig through some 10 meters of mud and rock that collapsed under torrential rains and buried hundreds of homes in northern Afghanistan.
 
Badakshan borders Tajikistan, China and Pakistan in the far north of Afghanistan. Because of the remoteness of the location and the narrowness of the roads, delivering heavy rescue equipment is difficult, officials said.
 
U.S. President Barack Obama expressed his support to Afghanistan after hearing reports of the devastation.
 
“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 comes to an end this year, our commitment to Afghanistan and its people will endure,” he said.
 
The local head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Aidan O’Leary, said a series of flash floods has hit the area in the past week. Then Friday, the entire side of a mountain collapsed, sending down a massive landslide that buried some 300 homes in the village Ab Barak.
 
  • Survivors sit in front of their tents near the site of the landslide that killed hundreds of people. Authorities are trying to help the 700 families displaced by the torrent of mud that swept through their village, in Badakhshan province, northeastern Afghanistan, May 6, 2014.
  • Survivors wait to receive food donations near the site of the landslide that buried Abi-Barik village in Badakhshan province, northeastern Afghanistan, May 6, 2014.
  • Afghanis show their injuries to local and international journalists after police fired shots into the air to disperse a crowd that had rushed toward a truck carrying aid, near the site of the landslide that buried Abi Barik village in Badakhshan province, northeastern Afghanistan, May 6, 2014.
  • Survivors wait to receive food donations near the site of the landslide that buried Abi-Barik village in Badakhshan province, northeastern Afghanistan, May 6, 2014.
  • Survivors gather around the lifeless body of a woman after her body was recovered from the landslide that buried Abi-Barik village, Badakhshan province, northeastern Afghanistan, May 6, 2014.
  • An ariel view shows the site of the landslide that buried Abi Barik village in Badakhshan province, northeastern Afghanistan, May 5, 2014.
  • Afghans search for survivors after a massive landslide landslide buried a village in Badakhshan province, northeastern Afghanistan, May 2, 2014.
  • This image made from AP video shows people searching for survivors after a massive landslide landslide buried a village in Badakhshan province, northeastern Afghanistan, May 2, 2014.
  • This image made from AP video shows people searching for survivors after a massive landslide landslide buried a village in Badakhshan province, northeastern Afghanistan, May 2, 2014.
  • Afghans search for survivors after a massive landslide landslide buried a village in Badakhshan province, northeastern Afghanistan, May 2, 2014.

Rescuers who rushed in to help from nearby villages were caught in subsequent landslides, he said. Not many were expected to have survived.
 
“It’s also expected that the intent is to designate the overall site as a mass grave. The focus for ongoing relief and humanitarian efforts is very much on those who survived and approximately another 4,000 Afghans who have been displaced in villages in the immediate vicinity where there is also further risks of landslides taking place,” said O’Leary.
 
Survivors and the homeless are in desperate need of water, medical help, food and emergency shelter, he added.
 
The Afghan Red Crescent Society and various other non-governmental organizations are rushing aid to the area.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid