- KABUL, Afghanistan (Reuters)
- A powerful earthquake struck northern Afghanistan Sunday, killing at
least five people and injuring 31 others in the capital Kabul and the
city of Jalalabad.
- The quake, which hit at 4:38 p.m., caused buildings to
sway and people to flee into the streets as far apart as the Tajik capital
of Dushanbe, the Pakistani capital Islamabad and the Indian capital New
Delhi, residents and officials said.
- "At least 30 houses (in Kabul) collapsed or were
badly damaged," a spokesman for Afghanistan's Information Ministry
- Carolyn Bell, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Geological
office in Washington, said the quake measured 7.2 on the Richter scale
and had a depth of 120 miles.
- "With an earthquake of that depth, there is a great
potential for landslides," she said.
- With the quake rocking a vast swathe of land stretching
from Central to South Asia, much of it rugged and remote mountains, the
extent of damage and casualties was not immediately clear.
- A spokesman for Edhi ambulance service in Islamabad said
about three hours after the quake: "We made checks all over the
and there was no still report of any deaths or serious injuries due to
- The quake was the fourth to shake Tajikistan this year.
Last month a quake centered 60 miles northeast of Dushanbe killed three
children and made 600 people homeless.
- MAN CRUSHED
- In Kabul, a 45-year-old man was killed when a wall in
his yard collapsed. His 12-year-old son was slightly injured.
- "We all ran out of the house and were standing close
to the wall when it collapsed," a relative said.
- Fragile mud houses in poor districts of Kabul and across
the border near the Pakistani city of Peshawar partially collapsed. One
Peshawar hospital said it had treated around a dozen people for minor
- In the Afghan city of Jalalabad, 11 female students were
injured, one of them critically, when a staircase at Allai Girls' School
collapsed as they tried to flee the building, the Pakistan-based Afghan
Islamic Press (AIP) news service said. Business came to an abrupt halt
in Kabul's main market, with vendors clinging to their goods as the ground
- "I have lived here for 50 years and never felt
that strong," said Mohammad Reza Amiri, a cook.
- The quake was also felt farther to the northwest in
but residents did not report any damage, U.N. officials said.
- An official in the northern Pakistani district of Chitral
said he had received no reports of casualties more than two hours after
the quake struck, but was still gathering information from remote
- Further south, Pakistan's main cities appeared to have
escaped without any significant damage.
- Earthquakes are relatively frequent in the Hindu Kush
mountain range. Another tremor of similar strength struck northern
on Jan. 3, but caused no significant damage.
- In 1998, two earthquakes killed about 8,500 people and
destroyed tens of thousands of houses in the northern Afghan provinces
of Takhar and Badakhshan.