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Day of mourning for victims of Afghan mudslide

AFP

Afghanistan’s government declared a day of national mourning Sunday for the hundreds of people killed when a mudslide engulfed a village in the country’s northeastern Badakshan Province.

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Much of Aab Bareek village in Badakhshan was left buried on Friday after a section of a mountain collapsed 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. Government officials have put the current death toll at 300 and warned it could rise by hundreds more, after initial reports suggested that as many as 2,500 people may have died.

Reporters in Afghanistan said rescuers had rudimentary equipment, with many of them using their bare hands to sift through the rubble. Only a few dead bodies have been pulled from the debris so far.

Meanwhile, the UN mission in Afghanistan said its staff was on the ground, along with the Afghan Red Crescent and other aid groups.

"The immediate focus is on approximately 700 families displaced either directly as a result of this slide or as a precautionary measure from villages assessed to be at further risk," UNAMA said.

It added that more water, medical support, food and emergency shelters were needed.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP, REUTERS)

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