Afghan earthquakes kill 21, destroy homes

By
April 17, 2009 20:40

Two earthquakes shook eastern Afghanistan early Friday, collapsing mud-brick homes on top of villagers while they slept and killing at least 21 people. The quakes hit four villages in the high mountains of the eastern province of Nangarhar, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the Pakistan border. Afghanistan's Hindu Kush mountain range is hit by dozens of minor earthquakes each year. Many Afghan homes are made of dried mud, so even moderate earthquakes can cause many deaths and major damage to infrastructure. The poverty-stricken nation is also battling a strengthened Taliban insurgency and another four people were killed in attacks Friday. Shafiqullah, from the village of Bhezad Kheil, said 21 people were buried in a cemetery following the quake, including two of his young neighbors. Nijad, 10, and Sima, 7, both died after the roof above their second-story bedroom collapsed, raining down wood beams and chunks of mud, he said.


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