- Title: AFGHANISTAN: Dozens feared dead in eastern earthquake
- Date: 18th April 2009
- Summary: NANGARHAR, AFGHANISTAN (APRIL 17, 2009) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF VILLAGERS SIFTING THROUGH THE RUBBLE OF HOUSES DESTROYED BY THE EARTHQUAKE MORE OF VILLAGERS SIFTING THROUGH THE RUBBLE OF DESTROYED HOUSES A WOMAN HUGGING A MALE FA MILY MEMBER AND CRYING A WOMAN CRYING OVER THE DEAD BODIES OF HER TWO KIDS VILLAGERS CARRYING A DEAD BODY (SOUNDBITE) (Pashto) GUL MOHAMMAD, A YOUNG MAN WHO HAS LOST THREE MEMBERS OF HIS FAMILY. SAYING "Three of my family members were killed, one is my brother and the two others are my brother's children." VILLAGERS WALKING ON THE DESTROYED HOUSES VARIOUS OF DESTROYED HOUSES MORE OF DESTROYED MUD HOUSES
- Embargoed: 2nd May 2009 23:57
- Location: Afghanistan
- Country: Afghanistan
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes
- Reuters ID: LVAVNYRICRGRADP3F1DY4XTCYGP
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: Villagers in eastern Afghanistan wailed in grief and scrambled through rubble on Friday (April, 17) to recover the bodies of dozens of people feared killed by a 5.5 magnitude earthquake.
Residents of the village of Mir Gadkhel said they thought dozens had been killed there. A Reuters cameraman also counted about 10 dead bodies in another nearby village, Sar Kot.
"Three of my family members were killed, one is my brother and the two others are my brother's children," Gul Mohammad said in Mir Gadkhel, about 45 km (30 miles) west of the Afghan city of Jalalabad.
The U.S. Geological Survey said a 5.5 magnitude quake hit the area just before 2 a.m. on Friday (2130 GMT on Thursday), followed by a 5.1 magnitude aftershock two hours later.
At one spot a father wept by the bodies of a daughter and two sons.
Nearby lay the bodies of a man and two women.
"Those who survived have gathered to rescue the ones who are under the destroyed houses. We have taken out some of the victims out but still there are people under the destroyed houses," said Safdar Khan, a member of the victim's family.
About 50 women in black scarves gathered in a road, wailing.
President Hamid Karzai's office said at least 20 people had died, and Karzai had expressed his deep condolences.
Mohammad Tahir Zahir, deputy head of the provincial council of Nangarhar province, said 40 people had died. Abdul Mateen Edraak, head of Afghanistan's National Disaster and Preparedness Centre, said 19 people were confirmed dead but the toll would rise as more bodies were recovered from the rubble.
In Sar Kot, women huddled over dead bodies of children, crying and slapping their heads in grief. Farm animals were trapped under the rubble of homes, all built from mud brick.
The villages are located between Jalalabad and the capital Kabul, in Nangarhar, a province that sees sporadic attacks by Taliban insurgents. But there were no immediate reports on Friday of security incidents near the quake zone.
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