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Afghan landslide toll 2,000, site may become massive grave

Kabul: The toll in Friday's landslide in Afghanistan has been put at 2,000 by rescue officials, who also said that the site may become a massive grave as the huge rubble is making the recovery of bodies almost impossible.

The incident occurred early Friday when a hill collapsed on a remote village in Aab Bareek area of Argo district in the mountainous province of Badakhshan with Faizabad city as its capital, 315 km northeast of Afghan capital Kabul, Xinhua reported.

The disaster was triggered by the recent heavy rains.

Afghan landslide

"The latest report by the provincial governor is that at least 2,000 have died in the landslides, buried under at least 10 metres of mud and debris," the UN mission in the country said.

"The immediate focus is on approximately 700 families (4,000+ people) displaced either directly as a result of this slide or as a precautionary measure from villages assessed to be at further risk. Key needs for them are water, medical support, counseling support, food and emergency shelter," the statement said.

There were about 300 homes in the village and a number of rescuers who had rushed from adjacent villages were also reported to be killed in subsequent slides, the statement said.

"Please keep in mind that the figures will remain proximate. Fear of a third land sliding has hampered the rescue team operation," it said.

"A memorial ceremony is planned for later today and the site is expected to be designated as a mass grave. Also, second vice president Mohammad Karim Khalil is visiting today," it said.

All the relevant UN agencies together with the Afghan Red Crescent Society and NGO partners are already at the site since Friday afternoon.

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