KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Bulldozers dug through tons of rocks and dirt on Wednesday in hopes of recovering 71 victims of a landslide that occurred after two earthquakes struck in northern Afghanistan earlier this week.
Two bodies have been recovered so far and 69 other people are feared dead — entombed in the rubble in Baghlan province’s Burka district, Mahmood Haqmal, the spokesman for the province, said Wednesday.
Wielding shovels, nearby villagers and Afghan policemen dug into the dirt alongside three bulldozers as they uncovered beams of houses crushed under the weight of the landslide.
“We have to dig and find the 69 other bodies,” Haqmal said. “I do not know how long it will take. It is not an easy task, but the government has promised that they will not leave the bodies under the rocks … they will stay until they find the last bodies.”
The U.S. Geological Survey said one earthquake with a magnitude of 5.4 struck the region on Monday morning, followed by a magnitude 5.7 quake. Both caused buildings to shake in the Afghan capital, Kabul, 190 kilometers (120 miles) to the south.
Damage was reported in five areas of the province, but the worst was in the village of Sayi Hazara. The village, which is home to about 20 families, was buried under an estimated 30 meters (yards) of rocks and dirt, according to the governor of the province, Gov. Abdul Majid, who reached the area on Tuesday afternoon after a four-hour drive from the provincial capital of Pul-e-Khumri.
One Monday, local officials feared that as many as 100 people could have been killed. On Tuesday, officials in Baghlan revised the number to 50 or fewer, but after a few survivors from the village were interviewed, they now believe 71 people are feared dead.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said Wednesday that non-governmental agencies, Afghan government offices, the U.N. and the Afghan Red Crescent Society have sent tents, blankets, water, bulldozers, hand tools, food, ambulances and other aid to the site.
More Related Stories
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
- UK Military: London attack victim was a "model soldier"
- Billionaire hedge funder: Babies, breast-feeding "kill" focus, keep women from succeeding
- "Bookless library" set to open in Texas
- 2 more arrested in London attacks
- Glenn Beck: CNN interview with atheist tornado survivor was a setup!
- Incoming BBC news director on journalism gender gap: "We can do better"
- Illegal construction, shoddy materials at fault in Bangladesh factory disaster
- Ahead of Obama's speech, U.S. acknowledges four American drone killings
- Must-see morning clip: Bill O'Reilly visits "The Daily Show"
- Lawsuit alleges anti-gay hiring practices at ExxonMobil
- Boy Scouts poised to vote, still greatly divided on gay youth
- House supporters of KXL received $56m from fossil fuel industry
- 80-year-old becomes oldest to climb Mount Everest
- Before FBI shooting man implicated self, Tsarnaev in triple murder
- Paul McCartney backs Pussy Riot
- UK emergency committee convenes after attack
- Brave scout leader tried to reason with London attackers
- If Alex Pareene were a cable news executive...
- El Salvador court delays ruling on abortion case while woman's life hangs in the balance
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11