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A catastrophic landslide wiped out an area near the village of Abi-Barak in the province of Badakhshan on 2 May, in the North-East of Afghanistan.
Following heavy rainfalls over the last weeks, an entire side of a mountain collapsed and trapped hundreds of villagers. Initial reports from official sources in the area indicate that 350 lives have been lost, but hundreds more are feared to be trapped under the mud.
The government has also reported that hundreds of families are still under serious risk of further landslides in the same area.
The region was also seriously affected by flash floods in the past few weeks. An emergency humanitarian response operation was already taking place in the region due to the floods and will likely be expanded to assist those who have been affected by this latest tragedy. Resources are expected to be drawn in from relief items already prepositioned in the area.
At present, the most immediate need in the landslide-affected area is resources to assist with search and rescue. The affected population are also in critical need of food, emergency shelter, drinking water, and first aid.
The Afghan Red Crescent Society has deployed an emergency team along with two mobile medical teams to the affected area. Each mobile medical team is composed of four members: a doctor, pharmacist, nurse or vaccinator and a driver.
On the ground, they are supported by volunteers specialized in community-based health and emergency first aid. Some temporary shelters have also been erected and 50 families are now living in tents. Moreover, 50 kitchen-sets, 50 hygiene-kits and 100 blankets are being sent to the area.
More rains have been forecasted for the region in the coming days and may hamper the operations. While search and rescue for the missing continues, addressing the needs of the people who have been displaced by the disaster must also be a top humanitarian priority.