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Afghan hopes fade away

Kabul, May 3 (Reuters): Afghan officials gave up hope of finding any survivors from a landslide in the remote northeast, putting the death toll at more than 2,100, as rescuers turned their attention to helping the over 4,000 people displaced.

Officials expressed concern the unstable hillside above the site of the disaster may cave in again, threatening the homeless as well as the UN and local rescue teams that have arrived in Badakhshan province. “More than 2,100 people from 300 families are all dead,” Naweed Forotan, a spokesman for the Badakhshan provincial governor, told Reuters.

Villagers and a few dozen police, equipped with only basic digging tools, resumed their search when daylight broke but it soon became clear there was no hope of finding survivors buried in up to 100 metres of mud.

“Seven members of my family were here, four or five of them were killed ... I am also half alive, what can I do?” said an elderly woman, her hair covered in a pink shawl.

The UN mission in Afghanistan said the focus was now on the more than 4,000 people displaced, either directly as a result of yesterday’s landslide or as a precautionary measure from villages assessed to be at risk. Their main needs are water, medicine, food and emergency shelter, said a spokesman from the UN Assistance Mission.

 
 
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