Search efforts halted in Afghan landslide, death toll rises to over 2,100

By Kyle Johnson,

Search efforts were halted on Saturday as Afghanistan officials expressed worry that the area around the landslide was still unstable and put survivors and relief workers in danger.

They also didn't believe that anyone would be found still alive as efforts to search through 90 feet of mud proved fruitless. "More than 2,100 people from 300 families are all dead," Naweed Forotan, the Badakhshan provincial governor's spokesman, told Reuters. It is thought the true death toll may be closer to 2,500.

Provincial governor Shah Waliullah Adeeb said, "We cannot continue the search and rescue operation anymore, as the houses are under metres of mud," BBC News reports. "We will offer prayers for the victims and make the area a mass grave."

The Telegraph spoke with Rahim, a survivor who recalled seeing what appeared to be "an ocean of dirt coming down on the village." He was able to safely escape the landslide as he lived on the edge of the village.

With the heavy decision to end futile rescue efforts, the focus now turns to helping those left homeless by the landslides in northeast Afghanistan and those evacuated from nearby villages.

The first landslide occurred on Friday morning, burying the remote village. A second landslide triggered shortly after residents of a nearby village arrived to help survivors. The area has been hit with continuous rain, which has proven to be more than the ground can handle, leaving officials worried that more landslides could yet be triggered.

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