Authorities end search for bodies after Afghanistan landslide
Saturday, May 3, 2014, 1:35 -
The search for survivors, and bodies, in the wake of a massive landslide in Afghanistan has been called off.
The number of people killed or missing could be as high as 2,700, but authorities say the mudfield, several metres deep, is so thick that recovery of all the bodies is not a possibility. The area has been declared a mass grave.
The United Nations says the number of people confirmed dead is at least 350. Most of them were responding to the area after a smaller landslide struck. The later, much larger, landslide is believed to have buried around 300 homes.
The estimates for the total number of possible fatalities vary so widely because it is not known how many people were inside those buildings when they were buried by the slide.
Recent heavy rainfall is believed the have triggered the slide. Fear of a new landslide has hindered the rescue operation, as has the area's remote location in the remote, mountainous region of Badakhshan.
Richard Danziger, the head of the Afghanistan office of the International Organization of Migration, said the area was prone to natural disasters.
"But the scale of this landslide is absolutely devastating," he told the Associated Press. "Hundreds of families have lost everything."
With files from the Associated Press.