As many as 100 people are feared dead in an earthquake and landslide that buried more than 20 houses in northern Afghanistan on Tuesday, officials said.
Rescuers have so far pulled out two women's bodies from the rubble of the landslide in Baghlan province, said provincial Governor Abdul Majid. The United Nations confirmed one other death and said houses were destroyed across five districts.
Rescue teams gave up trying to use shovels to dig through the deep rubble of mud and rocks, said Jawed Basharat, a spokesman for the provincial police chief who was part of a team that examined the village after the slide. There were no visible signs of the buildings underneath.
“We need bulldozers or other machinery to remove all this earth and get the bodies out, or the survivors if there are any,” Mr. Basharat said.
They knew how many houses were buried only from information provided by area residents, who said between 25 and 30 houses disappeared in the landslide.
The 5.4-magnitude earthquake struck the Hindu Kush region on Tuesday morning, followed by a 5.7-quake, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Both were felt as far away as the Afghan capital, Kabul, where buildings shook.
Baghlan province's Burka district, the site of the landslide, is a remote collection of mountain villages.