Share

Heavy Rain Triggers Landslide in Afghanistan; 350 Dead and Over 2,000 Missing

May 3, 2014

Afghans search for survivors after a massive landslide landslide buried a village Friday, May 2, 2014 in Badakhshan province, northeastern Afghanistan.

A week of heavy rain and snowmelt triggered landslides in a remote mountain village in Afghanistan Friday, killing at least 350 people and trapping more than 2,000 under the rocks and debris.

A hill collapsed on the village of Hobo Barik around midday in the war-torn country's northeastern Badakhshan province near the borders with China and Tajikistan. Nearly 300 homes were buried – about a third of all houses there, Badakhshan province Gov. Shah Waliullah Adeeb said. Friday is a day of worship in Afghanistan, so many families would have been at home instead of at work at the time.

"There were more than 1,000 families living in that village. A total of 2,100 people — men, women and children — are trapped," Naweed Forotan, a spokesman for the Badakhshan governor, told Reuters.

The New York Times reports that neighbors who rushed to help were buried by a subsequent slide as they searched the sodden mud for survivors.

A week of seasonal heavy rains combined with spring snowmelt has reaped destruction across Northern Afghanistan, killing hundreds in widespread flash flooding, BBC.com reports.

(MORE: Families Evacuated after Baltimore Landslide)

Officials from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said at least 350 people died in the landslide on Friday alone. Search and rescue operations were slow due to a lack of equipment and fears for additional slides.

"Search and rescue operations are going on very slowly," Afghanistan deputy director of the Natural Disaster Management Authority, Mohammad Aslam Seyas, told the Associated Press.

Ahmad Khan Nafeh, another official with the authority, said that at this point, survivors were unlikely.

"I don't think any human who would have been buried under all that mud for more than 12 hours or so, would have been alive," Nafeh said.

U.N. officials told the Associated Press that a memorial ceremony is being planned today and the landslide is expected to be designated as a mass grave.

For the people who live in Afghanistan's rugged northern mountains, avalanches are a frequent fact of life. The deadliest slide in the past several years occurred in February 2010, when more than 170 people were killed at the 12,700-foot-high Salang Pass, which is the major route through the Hindu Kush mountains that connects the capital to the north.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

MORE: Afghanistan Landslide


Featured Blogs

What Do Skyscrapers, Thundersnow, and Jim Cantore Have in Common?

By Dr. Jeff Masters
May 1, 2015

Thundersnow is a rare enough event to get even veteran meteorologists like The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore excited. New research shows that many cloud-to-ground lightning strikes observed in thundersnow are actually “ground-to-cloud” strikes, initiated by skyscrapers, wind turbines, and other tall objects.

The Great California Storm of April 19-23, 1880

By Christopher C. Burt
April 11, 2015

Could a single big late–season storm have a significant impact on the California drought? A 'Hail Mary' storm event? Normally by this time of the year (April 10th) California would have already received at least 90% of its rainy-season precipitation total and any additional rain or snowfall would have little impact so far as the current drought is concerned. However, back in late April 1880, one of the most intense storms ever to pound the state occurred. Here are the details.

Please check out the new homepage and tell us what you think!

By Shaun Tanner
April 2, 2015

The development team here at Weather Underground has been hard at work producing a new homepage! Please take a look at the sneak peek and tell us what you think!

Meteorological images of the year - 2014

By Stu Ostro
December 30, 2014

My 9th annual edition.

2013-14 - An Interesting Winter From A to Z

By Tom Niziol
May 15, 2014

It was a very interesting winter across a good part of the nation from the Rockies through the Plains to the Northeast. Let's break down the most significant winter storms on a month by month basis.

What the 5th IPCC Assessment Doesn't Include

By Angela Fritz
September 27, 2013

Melting permafrost has the potential to release an additional 1.5 trillion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, and could increase our global average temperature by 1.5°F in addition to our day-to-day human emissions. However, this effect is not included in the IPCC report issued Friday morning, which means the estimates of how Earth's climate will change are likely on the conservative side.