Death toll rises in Yemen landslide

Rescuers have pulled eight people alive from the rubble of their village while the death toll has risen to 43 in the landslide that poured down on the settlement on Wednesday night, according to security officials.

    Rescue is under way at Dhafeer, 100km north of capital Sana

    Nearly 100 people were missing. Dhafeer, about 100km north of the Yemeni capital of Sana, was partially buried two days ago after the side of Dhafeer Mountain broke loose and crashed on the hamlet.
     
    Rescue workers reported on Friday they still heard buried victims moaning and crying for help as teams dug into the mound of earth and rocks, said security officer Ahmad al-Maqdishi.

    "There could have been fewer victims if this had happened in day time," al-Maqdishi said.
     
    A World Health Organisation official was pessimistic about saving more victims. "I don't think those still buried are going to survive," said Dr Hashim al-Zain, the WHO representative at the scene.

    He said the rescue effort was being hampered as rocks continued to break loose and fall on the village.
     
    Residents evacuated

    Al-Maqdishi said 23 houses were destroyed and the residents of 150 other homes had been evacuated for fear of a second landslide.
     
    Bakeel al-Mattari, a city council member, said 43 bodies had been recovered, including those of eight members of the Odah family that were found on Friday.
     
    Others also lost whole families as well.
     

    Villagers joined the search and
    rescue operation in Dhafeer

    "All my family has gone," said resident Jamil Ahmed, who was away on a visit to Sana when the landslide happened.

    The authorities said about 700 soldiers and workers had been sent to Dhafeer, where rescue personnel used shovels and a bulldozer to push aside the fallen mountainside.
     
    Another team of the Red Crescent, the Islamic version of the Red Cross, arrived in the village on Friday.

    Some of the village's residents have been moved to neighbouring villages and settled in schools, where the students were given a holiday.
     
    Villagers who stayed behind were handing out blankets and other materials for use as shrouds to cover the dead.
     
    For centuries, Yemenis have built their houses on the sides of mountains, sometimes carving homes out of the rocks.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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