Landslide kills 52 in Afghanistan: gov’t
A massive landslide in a remote province in northeastern Afghanistan killed at least 52 people on Tuesday, a provincial official said.
The stricken area in Badakhshan province is cut off from the rest of the country, covered in snow and is only accessible from the air, significantly hampering any rescue efforts, said Shah Waliullah Adeeb, the provincial governor.
Badakhshan is one of the poorest and least-developed regions of Afghanistan. It regularly suffers huge landslides when snow begins to melt in the spring.
Tuesday’s landslide struck early in the morning in the province’s Khawahan district, near Afghanistan’s border with Tajikistan. The isolated area is located about 200 kilometers (124 miles) from the provincial capital, Faizabad.
There are no roads leading to it and “the only way to reach it is by helicopter,” Adeeb said. “We won’t be able to get there today. We are preparing to go to the area and are waiting for the choppers to take us there.”
The deputy head of Afghanistan’s National Disaster Management Authority, Mohammad Islam Sayas, said initial reports suggest the avalanche struck only one village but it was likely to have been completely wiped out.
“Our emergency team is trying to get to the scene, and have requested the Defense Ministry to provide us with choppers as that is the only way to get there,” Sayas said.