An Afghan man and his family travel by donkey in the mountainous terrain of Badakshan Province, Afghanistan. Angie Ramos/Reuters
A landslide triggered by heavy rains buried a village Friday in northeastern Afghanistan, leaving as many as 2,000 people missing, a top official said.
Badakhshan 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.
Reuters reported a lower number, saying that as many as 500 people were missing and believed dead. It cited Colonel Abdul Qadeer Sayad, a deputy police chief of Badakhshan province, who said the number may increase.
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 Badakhshan province, said the landslide happened about 1 p.m. Friday.
Badakhshan 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.
Afghans living in the rugged mountains of northern Afghanistan are used to avalanches. The most deadly one in the recent past occurred in February 2010, when more than 170 people were killed at the 3,800-metre-high Salang Pass, which is the major route through the Hindu Kush mountains that connects the capital to the north.