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Deadly landslide in northeastern Afghanistan

A mudslide has killed over 50 people in a remote province in the northeast of Afghanistan. Badakhshan province is one of the poorest in the country and prone to landslides.

At least 52 people are believed to have been killed in a massive mudslide that struck early in the morning in the Khawahan district in the northeastern province of Badakhshan.

"Our initial reports say that 25 women, 25 children and two men have lost their lives in Giru-e-Bala village," Gul Ahmad Bedar, deputy provincial governor told the DPA news agency. "These people did not leave their houses despite our warnings," Bedar said over the phone.

Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai, the police spokesman of Badakhshan, told the AFP news agency that "initial information shows 100 houses have been destroyed in the landslide."

The affected area is hard to reach, as it is covered in snow and only accessible by air, hampering rescue efforts. It is located around 2000 kilometers (1240 miles) from the provincial capital, Faizabad, in the Hindu Kush, near the border with Tajikistan and, at its most eastern point, with China.

The region is prone to flooding and landslides which often strike when the snow melts in spring, with flimsy mud houses offering little protection. Last May, at least 350 people were buried by a mudslide in the same province.

ng/bw (AFP, dpa)

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