Hundreds missing as landslide hits Afghan villages

MAZAR-I-SHARIF, Afghanistan (AFP) - At least 250 people were missing after a landslide buried villages in northern Afghanistan on Friday, officials said, as emergency relief teams rushed to the area to search for survivors.

“About 250 to 400 people are missing,” Badakhshan province deputy governor Gul Mohammad Baidaar told AFP.

“About 350 to 400 houses were destroyed in Argo district as a result of heavy rains that triggered landslides.

“The death toll is not known but it might increase as officials go to the scene along with rescue teams to recover bodies,” he said.

Badakhshan is a remote province in north-east Afghanistan bordering Tajikistan, China and Pakistan.

“The information that we received from our offices says around 600 families live in Aab Bareek village of Argo,” Mr Mohammad Daim Kakar, head of the National Disaster Management Authority in Kabul, told AFP.

“Over the past couple of days there were rains in this remote village, and it was followed by landslides.

“As a result, 250 families in the village were affected, and our sources say 300 to 500 people are missing,’’ he said.

Around 400 people were rescued and some left the area beforehand, fearing the risks of landslides.