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2,250 people feared dead after mudslide wipes away Afghan town

Kabul - About 2,250 people are feared dead after a mudslide Friday buried an Afghan village in the far-north-eastern province of Badakhshan, a spokesman for the provincial governor said.

More than 300 houses in Ab-e-Barik were swept away in the mudslide, which occurred after heavy rainfall, Naveed Ferotan said.

"Our rescue teams have so far found 150 bodies in the area, and they are working hard to save the villagers," he said.

About 2,100 other people are missing and also feared dead, officials said.

The mudslide first struck a wedding party, killing 250 people, and then buried nearly all of the village as well as farmland, said Haji Abdul Wadood Saeedi, governor of the Argu district, where Ab-e-Barik is located.

About 300 families are missing, he said. The ground is still unstable, and people in nearby villages are scared they could also become victims, Saeedi said.

Rescue teams were dispatched to the area and at least 1,500 people have been evacuated from Ab-e-Barik so far, Saeedi said.

The United Nations said 700 families lived in Ab-e-Barik and at least 120 houses were destroyed.

"Reportedly, 350 people have died and 580 families are at severe risk of further landslides," said Ari Gaitanis, a UN spokesman in Kabul.

"The village is flooded, and a drainage channel must be opened to prevent further destruction," he said.

The national government and United Nations planned their own rescue and aid response.

DPA


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