90 killed in devastating Baghlan quake
PUL-I-KHUMRI (PAN): At least 90 people were killed after a heavy landslide, triggered by two consecutive earthquakes, buried dozens of houses in a remote village of northern Baghlan province on Monday, a senior police officer and survivors said.
Police chief Brig. Gen. Asadullah Sherzad told Pajhwok Afghan News that the fatalities occurred in the Mullah Jan village of Burka district, where 25 houses were destroyed.
A quake measuring 5.4 struck the Hindu Kush region, followed by a 5.7 aftershock that jolted central, northern and northwestern Afghanistan, the US National Earthquake Information Centre said.
Sherzad asked the central government for urgent assistance to dig out the bodies from the rubble. He said volunteers -- using spades, pickaxes and bare hands -- were searching for survivors.
It was difficult digging through the debris with traditional tools, Gen. Sherzad said, adding modern equipment such as bulldozers was urgently needed. The village was comprehensively wiped out by the quake, killing all residents and household animals.
There were only two survivors -- Juma Khan and a student named Samad -- in the entire village. Khan told Pajhwok he survived because he had gone to another village for grinding wheat. “No one survived,” he said.
Samad also said he was at his school located in another village at the time of the devastating quake.
Nasir Kohzad, Afghanistan Natural Disaster Management Authority chief for Baghlan, said residents got buried in the village, where 20 houses caved in. He added they had sent rescuers to the affected districts, including Nahrin, Jalga and Gudz.
Measuring 5.4 and 5.6 on the Richter scale, the tremors struck at 9:32am and were also felt in the capital Kabul. The epicenter of the quake was located in the Hindu Kush Mountains in northern Badakhshan province.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said it was working with local officials to help in the rescue mission. It confirmed houses were destroyed across five districts.