Mass funeral for Afghan landslide victims

Move follows halt to search for bodies of up to 71 people who went missing after earthquake hit village in Baghlan.

    Residents of a remote village in Afghanistan's Baghlan province have held a mass funeral for the dozens of people buried under tonnes of rock and earth, which had been loosened by a series of earthquakes last week.

    Two shallow tremors less than half an hour apart on Monday let loose the material that struck the remote village of Mullah Jan in Baghlan province, burying as many as 71 people according to villagers.

    The director of Afghanistan's Natural Disaster Management Authority, Dayem Kakar, said emergency teams ended the search after local elders and religious leaders recommended leaving the bodies buried under the slope and naming it the Hill of Martyrs.

    Only five bodies had been recovered, he said.

    Authorities and aid agencies have provided temporary camps and relief aid, he said, with the government promising to resettle homeless survivors of the quakes.

    Monday's first tremor, with a magnitude of 5.4, struck at 9:32am (05:02 GMT) at a depth of 15km with the epicentre around 160km southwest of the town of Faizabad.

    A more powerful quake, measured at 5.7 magnitude, hit around 25 minutes later in almost exactly the same place, the US Geological Survey said.

    Al Jazeera's Bernard Smith reports from Kabul on the funerals in Baghlan.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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