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Euro aid to Afghan quake victims

Euro aid to Afghan quake victims

KABUL, Afghanistan -- European aid is being sent to earthquake victims in northeastern Afghanistan

More than 5,000 Afghans are thought to have perished in the series of earthquakes to have hit the Hindu Kush mountains while tens of thousands are believed to have lost their homes.

The European Commission is working closely with one of its partners, the French non-governmental organisation ACTED which is already in the area, to send about 500 tents and 1,000 blankets to the homeless.

ACTED is mobilising a further 1,500 tents and 1,500 shelter kits from normal winter programmes in the Baghlan province and the Shomali area.

An expert from the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), who is based in Kabul, is attending an emergency meeting to discuss what other action needs to be taken.

A statement by ECHO on its Web site says: "ECHO is ready to mobilise further assistance speedily should the need arise."

Afghan officials say nearly 5,000 people may have been killed by a pair of devastating earthquakes. (Full story)

At least 4,000 are injured and 20,000 homeless after the two main quakes and subsequent aftershocks struck near the town of Nahrin in the Hindu Kush mountains.

The U.S. Geological Survey in Colorado said the first shock, measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale, was felt at 7:26 p.m. (1456 GMT) on Monday and the epicentre was very close to Nahrin, 100 miles (160 km) north of Kabul.

Another quake at 2:15 a.m. on Tuesday (2145 GMT Monday) measured 5.0 on the Richter scale, the survey said on its Web site.

Powerful aftershocks, treacherous terrain and wintry weather were hindering rescue parties working on the mountain slopes, and getting a clearer picture of how damaging the impact.

Earthquakes and seismic activity are common in the Hindu Kush mountains and wider region, though they are not usually felt over such a wide area.

A 6.9-magnitude quake based in the same region on May 30, 1998, killed more than 4,000 people and injured many more

Earlier this month a quake measuring 7.2 also hit the region 240 kilometres north-northeast of Kabul, and was felt over a wide area including parts of Pakistan, northern India and the Soviet republics of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kirghizia.


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