DHAFEER, Yemen – Workers pulled eight survivors from the rubble of their village Friday amid the moaning of others still trapped beneath a landslide — victims one official said probably would not survive because falling rocks have slowed the rescue.
At least 43 people were killed in Wednesday's landslide in the small Yemeni village of Dhafeer, including eight family members whose bodies were recovered Friday, said Bakeel al-Mattari, a city council member. Nearly 100 others remained trapped beneath the rubble.
The village, located about 60 miles north of the Yemeni capital of San'a, was partially buried Wednesday night after the side of Dhafeer Mountain broke loose and crashed on the hamlet.
Rescue workers reported hearing buried victims moaning and crying for help as teams using shovels and a bulldozer 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 Organization 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.
Community leader Saleh Hamoud said Thursday the remoteness of the village and the inexperience of rescue workers was hampering the search effort.
Al-Maqdishi said 23 houses were destroyed and the residents of 150 other homes had been evacuated for fear of a second landslide.
Some residents lost their entire families.
"All my family has gone," said Jamil Ahmed, who was away on a visit to San'a when the landslide struck.
Some of the village's residents have been moved to neighboring 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.