Yemen landslide toll rises to 52 as search continues

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Sana'a (dpa) - The death toll from a mountain landslide that hit a small village west of the Yemeni capital Sana'a increased to 52 Friday as the search continued for the missing, rescuers said.

Sixteen more bodies were recovered from under the wreckage of destroyed houses late Thursday and early Friday, according to the Yemeni Red Crescent Association (YRCA).

A rocky hill overlooking Dhafir village, some 60 kilometres from the capital, collapsed onto the village, destroying about 50 houses on Wednesday.

Fifteen houses were crushed by giant rocks that slid off the mountain when the hillside collapsed and an avalanche of tons of rocks hurtled onto the village.

Five people were pulled out alive, the YRCA said, quoted by the official Saba news agency. The association said the hopes of finding more survivors three days after the catastrophe were fading.

Search and rescue operations were being hampered by a lack of tools to break the huge rocks lying on crushed houses, said police officials at the scene.

"It needs at least ten days to lift the rocks and search under the buried buildings," one official said.

Around 700 residents who escaped the landslide were evacuated to nearby villages after geologists warned of the possibility of further rockfalls. dpa kal pmc

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