Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

FOCUS

Many Turks angry over Syrian refugee situation

Read more

  • In pictures: Debris and devastation at Air Algérie Flight AH5017 crash scene

    Read more

  • ‘No survivors’ from Algerian plane crash, says Hollande

    Read more

  • Paris bans new Gaza protest scheduled for Saturday

    Read more

  • Lithuania’s Navardauskas wins 19th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Tour de France fans bring the ambience to the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Wreckage of Algeria plane found in Mali

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Hopes for survivors of deadly Afghan mudslide diminish

© Farshad Usyan/ AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-05-03

Rescuers in Afghanistan on Saturday combed through mud and debris in a remote northeastern region struck by a mudslide that killed at least 300 people, according to Afghan officials.

Hundreds of homes were buried in Afghanistan’s Badakshan Province on Friday when a section of a mountain collapsed, engulfing villages following heavy rain.

A rustic, mountainous province that borders Pakistan, Tajikistan and China, Badakshan is one of the poorest and most remote regions of Afghanistan. As government officials and rescue teams struggled to access the disaster site, there were conflicting reports of the death toll from Friday’s mudslide.

Earlier Saturday, a local official said about 2,500 people had disappeared in the rubble. But in an interview with AFP later Saturday, Gul Mohammad Bedar, Badakshan’s deputy governor, put the figure of confirmed dead at 300 before adding that the death toll was expected to rise to 500.

"The first figure that we announced was obtained from local people, not from our technical team," said Bedar.

Reporters in Afghanistan said rescuers had rudimentary equipment with many of them using their bare hands to sift through the rubble.

Rain, melting snow hamper rescue efforts

Rescue efforts have also been hampered by difficult conditions due to a week of heavy rain. Seasonal rains and the spring melting of snow have caused heavy destruction across large swathes of northern Afghanistan, already killing more than 100 people.

Landslides occur frequently in the province, but they generally happen in remote areas and produce far fewer casualties, Mohammad Usman Abu Zar from the Meteorology Department of Badakhshan Province, told AP.

President Hamid Karzai ordered Afghan officials to start emergency relief efforts immediately to reach the poor village. A UN representative in Kabul said roads to the village were open but passage was not suitable for heavy machinery.

Mark Bowden, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Afghanistan, said it may be some time yet until a clear picture of the full extent of the damage is known.

NATO-led coalition troops in the region were discussing search-and-rescue contributions with Afghan forces, the United Nations said.

US President Barack Obama, in remarks before a news conference at the White House with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, expressed his condolences.

“Just as the United States has stood with the people of Afghanistan through a difficult decade, we stand ready to help our Afghan partners as they respond to this disaster, for even as our war there comes to an end this year, our commitment to Afghanistan and its people will endure,” he said.

About 30,000 US soldiers remain in Afghanistan, although that number will decrease as Washington plans to withdraw all combat troops battling Taliban insurgents by the end of the year.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AP)

Date created : 2014-05-03

  • AFGHANISTAN

    Hundreds killed, thousands missing in Afghan landslide

    Read more

COMMENT(S)