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At Least 300 Dead In Afghan Landslide

Afghan villagers gather at the site of the deadly landslide.
Afghan officials have lowered to 300 the confirmed death toll from a landslide in the north of the country.

Badakhshan Governor Shah Waliullah Adeeb gave the new toll to reporters on May 3.

He was speaking at the scene of a mudslide that engulfed the village of Aab Bareek in Badakhshan province on May 2.

Gul Mohammad Bedar, the deputy governor of Badakhshan, told the French news agency AFP that an earlier figure of up to 2,500 presumed dead was "obtained from local people, not from our technical team."

Rescue teams have now abandoned the search for more survivors under the layer of some 10 meters of mud and earth.

"We cannot continue the search and rescue operation anymore, as the houses are under meters of mud," Adeeb said. "We will offer prayers for the victims and make the area a mass grave."

Further Risks

Muhammad Aslam Sayas, the deputy head Afghanistan's National Disaster Department, said there is a risk of further landslides in the area.

He said the department's provincial office has provided food, clean water, tents, and blankets for some 700 displaced families.

Other local and international relief agencies have also begun providing aid for the villagers.

The landslide struck when many villagers were attending a wedding party.

A government delegation led by Vice President Yunus Qanuni was due to leave Kabul for Badakhshan on May 3.

The National Disaster Department said the delegation will bring aid and more than $350,000 in cash to help the victims.

Torrential rains and floods have hit Afghanistan's north in recent weeks, killing more than 100 people, displacing thousands of others, and destroying homes, farmland, and roads.

Heavy rains and floods have hit Afghanistan's north in recent weeks.
Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP