Four killed in Afghan landslide

April 13, 2014 - 12:59:15 am

KABUL: A landslide triggered by heavy rains and a small earthquake swept through two villages in northern Afghanistan killing four people and destroying around 100 houses, officials said yesterday. 

The natural disaster occurred overnight in the Rustaq district of northern Takhar province, about 300 kilometres northeast of the capital Kabul, police spokesman Abdul Khalil Aseer said.

“Four civilians — three men and a woman — were killed as a result of landslide, heavy rains and (an) earthquake in two remote villages of Rustaq district,” on the outskirt of Takhar province, he said.

According to the United States Geological Survey, a minor 4.1 magnitude quake struck northeast Afghanistan at 2.30 am local time at a depth of 203 kilometres.

The death toll might increase as Afghan police forces head to the scene, Aseer said.

Sunatullah Taimoor, a spokesman for the governor of Takhar, confirmed the death toll.

“Around 100 houses were destroyed in last night’s landslide,” he said, adding residents had climbed to higher ground for safety.

Landslides sometimes occur during the spring rainy season in the country’s mountainous north, with the flimsy mud houses built in the area often unable to withstand them.

A landslide, also known as a landslip, is a geological phenomenon which includes a wide range of ground movements, such as rockfalls, deep failure of slopes and shallow debris flows, which can occur in offshore, coastal and onshore environments.