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Village Turns to Mass Grave as Landslide Kills More than 2000 in Afghanistan

May 03, 2014 08:40 AM EDT
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A village in Afghanistan turned into a mass grave Friday after a series of rain-induced landslides left more than 2,000 dead.

Ab-e-Barak village in northeastern Badakhshan province was covered in about 130 feet (40 meters) of mud and rocks, marking the worst natural disaster ever recorded in the war-torn nation, according to Bloomberg News.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said at least 350 people were killed, but various media outlets have cited the area's provincial governor, who has said more than 2,000 people are missing.

"More then 2,100 people from 300 families are all dead," Naweed Forotan, a spokesman for the Badakhshan provincial governor, told Reuters.

When daylight broke Saturday, the search for survivors resumed, with villagers and volunteers digging through the rubble with their bare hands, but it soon became clear that the rescue mission had become a recovery effort, Reuters reported, noting that officials are now focusing on the more than 4,000 people displaced by the disaster.

One-third of the homes in the village were buried and only 15 bodies have been recovered from the rubble, according to NBC News.

Natural disasters have plagued Afghanistan as of late, with seasonal rains and snowmelt causing heavy destruction across the county's northeast.

"There have now been more Afghans killed through natural disasters in the past seven days than all of 2013," Mark Bowden, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Afghanistan, said in a statement.

As the situation unfolds, the area's main needs are water, food, medicine and emergency shelter, according to Reuters.

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