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Afghanistan landslide: Search for survivors abandoned

By Ians

Afghan landslide: Survivors search stops
Kabul, May 4: Rescuers abandoned the search for survivors Saturday after a landslide buried an Afghan village, media reports said. Authorities also revised down the death toll.

Afghan officials said they thought that a maximum of about 500 people were feared dead in the landslide that engulfed the village of Hobo Bank in Hindu Kush under tonnes of rubble, Al Jazeera reported.

Earlier the officials said they feared that up to 2,100 people from 300 families were feared dead.

UN authorities in Afghanistan, however, could not verify the Afghan officials' death toll, saying 350 were confirmed dead and many more were missing. The UN said its focus was now on more than 4,000 people displaced by the disaster.

According to Provincial Director of Disaster Management Department Sayyed Abdullah Homayyon Dehqan, up to 255 bodies were recovered and identified following the tragic incident in the northern Afghan province of Badakhshan.

President Hamid Karzai Saturday announced May 4 as a day of mourning over the landslide tragedy, Afghanistan's Pajhwok news agency reported.

A statement from Karzai's office said the national flag would fly half-mast Sunday in offices across the country and Afghan diplomatic missions around the world.

The president expressed his deep sorrow over the catastrophe and urged all countrymen as well as aid organisations to help the victims.

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