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.

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