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Scores dead in Afghan quake

Kabul residents begin work to repair their quake-damaged home
Kabul residents begin work to repair their quake-damaged home  

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Authorities are attempting to assess the final death toll after the strongest quake in 18 years was felt throughout Central and South Asia.

At least 150 people are feared dead after the weekend earthquake hit Samangan province in northern Afghanistan.

Communications in northern Afghanistan are primitive and it could take days for a full picture of the quake to emerge.

The 7.2 magnitude quake -- which struck at 4:30 p.m. local time Sunday -- was centered southwest of Feyzabad and was felt as far away as India.

The quake sent rubble sliding into the village of Dahani-Zeu, according to the interim government's Bakhtar Information Agency (BIA).

One hotel and 100 houses were destroyed while another 400 houses were inundated by water when the landslide dammed a river in the village, said Abdul Rahman of BIA.

Relief workers are delivering 22 tons of aid and more supplies are being stored in neighboring Tajikistan, to be flown in if necessary.


The U.N. World Food Program, whose workers also reached the remote region Monday, put the death toll as 100 in the valley.

In the Afghan capital, Kabul, at least six people were killed when the quake hit and more than 30 others were injured. Dozens of houses were also destroyed.

The U.S. Geological Survey called the quake the strongest in the region since another 7.2 quake on December 30, 1983 killed 26 people.

An earthquake with a magnitude of 7 of above is considered a major quake capable of causing widespread structural damage.

Earthquakes are common in the region although they are not usually as strong or felt over such a wide area.

In May 1998 a magnitude 6.9 quake hit northern Afghanistan killing more than 5,000 people and wiping out dozens of villages.

Another tremor of similar strength to Sunday's quake hit the region in early January this year but caused no significant damage.

CNN Producer Rose Arce contributed to this report.




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