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Apr-19-2009 01:09printcomments

Survivors of Afghan Quakes Await Relief

The death toll of 19 could rise, according to people on the ground in Afghanistan.

Map of Afghan earthquake zone
Image courtesy: Al Jazeera

(MIR GADKHEL, Afghanistan) - Survivors of two earthquakes in Afghanistan told Reuters they spent a freezing night in the rain outside the collapsed remains of their homes because promised government help did not reach them.

The two quakes - one measuring 5.5 and the other of 5.1 magnitude - rocked Nangarhar province, 90km east of Kabul, within a span of two hours early on Friday.

Reports indicate that over 200 tents and around 600 blankets have been sent to the quake zone, and other assistance was on its way. Stilol, residents said no help has arrived yet, and they report spending a frightening night outside as multiple aftershocks continued.

"There are hundreds of families who spent the night outside and it was very cold and raining, our children have become sick, and we haven't received any assistance from the government or others so far," said Del Agha who had lost two children.

"The police started work early this morning. All the 19 dead bodies were picked up by police," Zemarai Bashari, an Afghan interior ministry spokesman, told Al Jazeerra.

"The work is going on and the rubble is being removed to try to find more dead bodies or injured people."

Shah Mohammad Khan, a villager in Nangarhar's Sherzad district, told The Associated Press that the death toll could be even higher.

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