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Afghan Quake "Kills 2000"

Wed Mar 27, 2002 4:30 am

More than 2,000 people are feared dead after a series of earthquakes struck Afghanistan's remote northern province of Baghlan.
The Afghan Interior Minister, Yunus Qanuni - who has travelled to the area - said up to 20,000 had been left homeless.

Mr Qanuni visited the town of Nahrin, which has been virtually destroyed.

Afghan officials estimated that about 4,000 people had been injured.

The quakes began on Monday and were still producing aftershocks late on Tuesday, hampering rescue efforts.

Afghanistan's interim government pleaded for international assistance as its head, Hamid Karzai, called off a scheduled visit to Turkey.

International aid agencies and the UN have responded to the call.

"It is beyond the interim government to deal with this tragedy," said Mr Qanuni.

"We ask all international agencies and foreign countries to help us in this emergency situation."

Thousands homeless

The quakes began in the Hindu Kush mountains on Monday at about 1930 local time (1500 GMT), rocking the Nahrin and Burqa districts of Baghlan.

The initial quake measured about six on the Richter scale, and could be felt as far away as Peshawar and Islamabad in Pakistan.

Mr Qanuni said that the bodies of at least 1,800 people had been pulled from the rubble so far.

Ros O'Sullivan, of the aid agency Concern, said that before the quake the area was already considered "high-risk regarding vulnerability to malnutrition," with about 80% of the population receiving relief supplies.

A UN representative in Geneva warned that the quake damage was not necessarily confined to Nahrin and Burqa.

"It would seem that this earthquake is more extensive than thought, is not at all concentrated on these two areas," said Elizabeth Byrs, spokeswoman for the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Fear amongst the rubble

One Afghan commander who flew over the area on Tuesday described the scenes of devastation he witnessed.

"From the helicopter we didn't see any standing homes in and around the villages around Nahrin," General Khalil told the Associated Press news agency.

"Everyone is trying to find the members of their families to bring them out of the destroyed walls or collapsed areas. The earthquake is going on, and each time, the people are very afraid."

A radio operator for the French charity ACTED, which is rushing aid to the scene, said the group's offices in Nahrin had been destroyed.

"There are no non-governmental organisations, there is no hospital, there is no doctor to help these people," said Shoja Zare after speaking to colleagues in Nahrin.

Rescue work

A major relief effort is already under way:

A six-strong international team from the French-based aid organisation Medecins Sans Frontieres is treating the injured in three large tents at the scene and has delivered three lorryloads of aid with a fourth due to arrive
ACTED has dispatched 500 tents and 1,000 blankets to combat the freezing night temperatures
The UN, Red Cross and other aid agencies have sent more than 50 lorries carrying tents, blankets and other supplies from the city of Mazar-e-Sharif, 4.5 hours away
A team of UN and aid experts has left for Afghanistan to assess the needs of the survivors
The British-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan has sent a Chinook helicopter to Nahrin carrying foreign and Afghan teams to coordinate the rescue effort
The World Food Programme plans to make a food delivery by helicopter
A Russian rescue team is standing by in Kabul with an Ilyushin 76 transport plane carrying 30 tonnes of medical equipment
Air transport could be vital to the relief operation, given that two of the three access roads to Nahrin are blocked.

However, food agency lorries have been successfully negotiating the area's dirt roads in recent months.

The area, where an impoverished farming community lives in mostly mud-brick homes, was already a major recipient of food aid before the quake.

The BBC Kabul correspondent, Kate Clark, notes that Nahrin suffered badly during Afghanistan's civil war and recently saw fresh ethnic violence.

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RE: Afghan Quake "Kills 2000"

Wed Mar 27, 2002 5:18 am

This is bad news to hear
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RE: Afghan Quake "Kills 2000"

Wed Mar 27, 2002 9:16 am

Let's hope that number doesn't rise, but hey, God happens, know what I'm sayin?
The meaning of life is curiosity; we were put on this planet to explore opportunities.
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RE: Afghan Quake "Kills 2000"

Wed Mar 27, 2002 10:13 am

Explain that comment
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RE: Afghan Quake "Kills 2000"

Wed Mar 27, 2002 1:01 pm

It is about 5000 now...

And thats how the most Arabs will explain it to themselves:
-Allah is mad at us for letting the Yanks into the Afghan...

I can neither confirm, nor deny above post
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RE: Afghan Quake "Kills 2000"

Wed Mar 27, 2002 4:32 pm

Interesting the lack of interest this story attracts, isn't it. Boy, 2000, thats almost as many as died on 11th September.
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RE: Afghan Quake "Kills 2000"

Wed Mar 27, 2002 5:57 pm

Don't drop the daisy cutter on the fault line with all the Al-Queida ammunition next time!!!
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RE: Afghan Quake "Kills 2000"

Thu Mar 28, 2002 1:26 am


Hmm.. Maybe I'm too cynical but I think this is where we see whose life is "important" and who's is not.

The quake is a tragedy at least as horrible as the september 11th events. However I don't think this is going to be the top news for the next month. Just think about it, here in Finland I saw the news in small print next to the ice hockey results on the front page.

I don't think there's going to be global silent moments for the people who passed away. No memorial monuments for sure. A year from now I think no one is going to remember march 26th as a dark moment in history.

Of course it's understandable. It touches us more when we actually see buildings collapsing and people dying in live television. I must say the 9/11 touched me more. But it's still sad how small news "thousands of dead afhganis" is compared to "thousands of dead western people".
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RE: Afghan Quake "Kills 2000"

Thu Mar 28, 2002 1:52 am

There's a big difference between a natural disaster and a deliberate act of mass-murder. Don't try to equate the two. It isn't as if negotiation, war or politics are going to prevent an earthquake.

The issue here is will the West help? Yes, they will, and they already are.
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RE: Afghan Quake "Kills 2000"

Thu Mar 28, 2002 3:06 am

These 2,000 afgans are innocent remember, its not these who we are fighting, we are fighting the ones involved in the shocking events of Sept 11th 01. Many afgans have suffered and suffered again, its not their fault.

Lets just hope Mr Binladen's cave collapsed  Confused because if anything he isnt innocent and just like his leaders done deserve to be here.

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RE: Afghan Quake "Kills 2000"

Mon Apr 01, 2002 4:52 pm

It's all forgotten now isn't it. No memorial on the 26th of March, no memorial being erected...

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RE: Afghan Quake "Kills 2000"

Mon Apr 01, 2002 4:54 pm

Then erect one Goodbye. What are you waiting for? Do it tomorrow in fact. Cancel your other plans.

I dumped at the gybe mark in strong winds when I looked up at a Porter Q400 on finals. Can't stop spotting.
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RE: Afghan Quake "Kills 2000"

Mon Apr 01, 2002 5:20 pm

I'm just wondering why the rest of the world hasn't taken to this story as they did to September 11. Perhaps it's because Afghans aren't as important?

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