U.N. says at least 350 dead in Afghan landslide

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A United Nations spokesman says at least 350 people have died in a landslide in a remote area in northeastern Afghanistan.

Ari Gaitanis, from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, said the U.N. is working with authorities on the ground to rescue people still trapped.

Badakhshan province where Friday’s landslide occurred is nestled in the Hindu Kush and Pamir mountain ranges and bordering China.

Earlier, Badakshan province Gov. Shah Waliullah Adeeb said more than 2,000 people were missing after a hill collapsed on the village of Hobo Barik. Adeeb said the landslide buried some 300 homes in the area — about a third of all houses there.

The governor said rescue crews were working but didn’t have enough equipment, appealing for shovels.

“It’s physically impossible right now,” Adeeb said. “We don’t have enough shovels; we need more machinery.”

He said authorities evacuated a nearby village over concerns about further landslides.

Faziluddin Hayar, the police chief in Badakshan province, said the landslide happened about 1 p.m. Friday.

Badakshan province, nestled in the Hindu Kush and Pamir mountain ranges and bordering China, is one of the most remote in the country. The area has seen few attacks from insurgents following the 2001 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan.