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Poorly equipped Afghan rescuers search for more than 2,000 buried in landslide

Published on May 3, 2014 2:34 PM
Afghan villagers gather at the site of a landslide at the Argo district in Badakhshan province on May 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

KABUL (REUTERS) - Afghan police and villagers, equipped with only basic digging tools, began a dangerous search for more than 2,000 people feared buried under a massive landslide in a remote mountainous region in the northeast on Saturday, amid concern that the unstable hillside may cave in again.

The United Nations said at least 350 people were killed, but officials fear that the toll will rise sharply as the poor village in Badakhshan province, bordering Tajikistan, is buried in up to 100 metres of mud.

Villagers and a few dozen police started the search when daylight broke on Saturday.

"People from surrounding districts of Badakhshan and Takhar have rushed to the area to help with the rescue," Colonel Abdul Qadeer Sayad, a deputy police chief of Badakhshan, told Reuters. "So far today no bodies have been recovered."

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