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

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More