Magnitude 5.6 quake hits western Afghanistan, killing more than 20

A man clears rubble from the roof of his house after an earthquake, in Behsud district of Jalalabad province, Afghanistan on Oct 27, 2015.
PHOTO: Reuters file

KABUL - An earthquake rocked western Afghanistan on Monday (Jan 17), killing more than 20 people and destroying hundreds of homes, local authorities said.

The 5.6 magnitude tremor shook the western province of Badghis, bordering Turkmenistan, in the afternoon, reducing brick homes to rubble, according to photos shared by local authorities.

"Unfortunately, our initial reports show that 22 people, including women and children, have been killed and four others injured," said Baz Mohammad Sarwari, the director of Information and Culture of the Badghis provincial administration.

"The Mujahideen have reached to some of the affected areas, but Badghis is a mountainous province, the number of casualties might go up," he added, referring to Taliban fighters, and adding that heavy rain was also lashing the area.

Mullah Janan Saeqe, head of the Emergency Operations Centre of the Ministry of State for Emergency Affairs, confirmed the death toll and said more than 700 houses had been damaged.

Sanullah Sabit, the head of the nursing unit at the main hospital in Badghis' capital said they had received five patients injured in the quake, mostly with broken bones and fractures.

The quake was at a depth of 30 km, according to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre. 

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