More than 70 feared dead in Afghan quakes

More than 70 people, most women and children, are feared dead after a landslide triggered by a double earthquake engulfed their Afghan village, officials said on Tuesday.

Two shallow quakes less than half an hour apart shook the mountainous Hindu Kush region Monday, starting a slide of earth and rock that smashed into a remote village, burying mudbrick houses to a depth of up to 100 metres (300 feet).

People in the village of Mullah Jan, in Burka district, the worst-hit area in the province of Baghlan, said 71 people were trapped. An official described the chances of survival as "slim or non-existent".

Mohammad Daiem Kakar, the head of the national disaster management agency, said the landslide had moved the entire village 20 to 30 metres down the mountainside.

Two bodies have been recovered from the village and 69 others -- all women and children, as the men were out working on their farms when the disaster struck -- are still missing, Kakar said.

"According to the village elders and relatives of the victims, there were 27 boys, 24 girls and 20 women missing," he told AFP.

"The chance for anyone to survive is very very slim or non-existent. The entire village has been relocated and brought down with earth down below the mountains.

"Throughout yesterday and today there have been no sign of bodies despite digging in some parts up to 20 metres down into the earth."

A bulldozer was at work digging through the rubble at Mullah Jan, according to Rafiullah Rasoolzai, spokesman for the disaster response agency, who said emergency supplies of food, water and shelter had been brought in.

Provincial governor Munshi Abdul Majeed earlier said the sheer volume of soil made digging work very difficult.

"They might be dead as there is a lot of soil and removing this is very, very hard," he said.

"We have sent excavators to the area but I don't think they will be able to do much."

Baghlan Police chief Assadullah Shirzad said around 100 security forces were helping the search.

The first quake on Monday, with a magnitude of 5.4, struck at 9:32 am (0502 GMT) at a depth of 15 kilometres (10 miles) with the epicentre around 160 kilometres southwest of the town of Faizabad.

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

Buildings were felt shaking slightly in Kabul, around 170 kilometres to the south, during both quakes.

Northern Afghanistan and Pakistan are frequently hit by earthquakes, especially around the Hindu Kush range, which lies near the collision of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates.

A 7.6-magnitude earthquake in Pakistan in October 2005 killed 74,000 people and displaced 3.5 million.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • China ignores global outcry vs reclamation
    China ignores global outcry vs reclamation

    On Wednesday, G-7 foreign ministers issued a Declaration on Maritime Security expressing alarm over “unilateral actions, such as large scale land reclamation, which change the status quo and increase tensions” in the region. In their communiqué, which did not specifically mention China, the ministers expressed belief that reclamation activities were meant to “change the status quo” in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea, through which 40 percent of global trade passes. …

  • Project NOAH exec receives recognition
    Project NOAH exec receives recognition

    Project NOAH executive director and University of the Philippines professor Mahar Lagmay recently received recognition from the European Geosciences Union (EGU) for his work in disaster risk reduction and mitigation in the Philippines. …

  • Nightclub ban for US troops
    Nightclub ban for US troops

    The US Pacific Command has banned its troops in the Philippines from bars and nightclubs, a spokesman said yesterday, with the trial under way of a US Marine accused of murdering a transgender Filipino he met in a bar. Thousands of American and Filipino soldiers will kick off tomorrow the 10-day annual military exercises, according to Capt. Alex Lim, a spokesman for the US forces, but there will be strict controls on their free time. Lim would not say why the restrictions were imposed but …

  • US-Phl war games to start under China’s shadow
    US-Phl war games to start under China’s shadow

    Thousands of American and Filipino soldiers will kick off tomorrow expanded wargames, showcasing a deepening  defense alliance as alarm bells ring over China. The 10-day exercises in the Philippines are an annual affair between the longtime allies, but this time they will involve double the number of soldiers as last year in a sign of their expanding military partnership. The Philippines is seeking more US military and diplomatic support to fend off China’s increasing forcefulness in its bid …

  • Palace defends legal tack in sea row
    Palace defends legal tack in sea row

    There is nothing weak about taking the legal and diplomatic approach to push for the country’s claims in the disputed West Philippine Sea, Malacañang maintained yesterday. On Friday, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares led a rally in front of the Chinese consulate in Makati City to protest China’s massive reclamation activities in the Spratly island group to fortify its presence in the disputed waters. Colmenares also criticized the Philippine government for supposedly not doing enough to defend …

  • Veloso sons urge authorities to save mother from death
    Veloso sons urge authorities to save mother from death

    The sons of Mary Jane Veloso, who is facing execution in Indonesia for drug smuggling, yesterday appealed to government officials to do everything to spare their mother from death. “We love you,” Mark Daniel, 12, said when asked for a message for his mother following a press conference at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. Mark Daniel, an incoming Grade 8 student, reiterated his appeal to those in power to help save his mother from death. His younger brother, …

  • US-Philippines wargames to start under China's shadow
    US-Philippines wargames to start under China's shadow

    Thousands of American and Filipino soldiers on Monday will kick off expanded wargames, showcasing a deepening defence alliance as alarm bells ring over China. The 10-day exercises in the Philippines are an annual affair between the longtime allies, but this time they will involve double the number of soldiers as last year in a sign of their expanding military partnership. The Philippines is seeking more US military and diplomatic support to fend off China's increasing forcefulness in its bid …

  • Bar ban for US troops in Philippines amid murder trial
    Bar ban for US troops in Philippines amid murder trial

    The US Pacific Command has banned its troops in the Philippines from bars and nightclubs, a spokesman said Saturday, with the trial under way of a US Marine accused of murdering a transgender Filipina he met in a bar. Thousands of American and Filipino soldiers will on Monday kick off 10-day annual military excercises, according to Captain Alex Lim, a spokesman for the US forces, but there will be strict controls on their free time. Lim would not say why the restrictions were imposed but …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options