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Tuesday, 26 March, 2002, 14:06 GMT
Quake relief effort
Ros O'Sullivan of the international aid agency Concern is involved in the Afghan earthquake relief effort and told BBC News Online what his colleagues working in the stricken zone had found.

Concern has a regional office in Taloqan, in neighbouring Takhar province. It is rushing aid to the area and has launched an appeal.

We have three international staff and three or four nationals on the ground. The town of Nahrin - the seat of Nahrin district in Baghlan province - has been largely destroyed by the earthquake. We have estimates of the older part of the city destroyed and about half of the newer part of the town.

The population of the district is about 80,000 - there are estimates of about 30,000 in Nahrin town. Our team reported there are 400 confirmed dead and about 1,000 missing.

Recent Afghan quakes
3 March 2002: 70 killed in northern province of Samangan
May 1998: 5,000 killed in northern provinces of Takhar and Badakshan
February 1998 - 4,500 killed in Takhar
There is a lot of destruction, and about 10,000 displaced people.

For a lot of agencies - NGOs or UN agencies - the place is accessible, although it's a very bad road.

The agencies have been responding to the quake that happened earlier this month, with ongoing relief. Dealing with something like this is often determined by what you have available at the time.

Food and shelter are the two priorities. People are out in the open at the moment.

The agencies are sending tents, plastic sheeting, blankets, jerry cans, lanterns, clothing as well as food there.

More tremors

Tremors are continuing and there is a fear of more seismic activity, so people are afraid.

It has not yet been determined how many other towns were hit. Inter-agency teams are going to outlying areas, but it is felt that Nahrin took the greatest brunt of it.

It is quite a remote and rural district, in the foothills of the Hindu Kush, and it will take quite a bit of time to ascertain the extent of the destruction.

It was considered a frontline area in the past two or three years, identified by agencies as high-risk regarding vulnerability to malnutrition. Already about 80% of the population are receiving relief supplies.

Medical teams are already there. We are working alongside other agencies and are taking responsibility for getting access to water.

The BBC's Andrew Burroughs
"Aftershocks have left local people terrified"
Jean Gilard International Committee of the Red Cross
"It's a very remote area of Afghanistan"
See also:

26 Mar 02 | South Asia
Afghan quake 'kills 1,500'
31 Dec 98 | S/W Asia
Earthquake hits northern Afghanistan
18 Feb 99 | South Asia
Afghanistan rebuilds
15 Feb 02 | Country profiles
Country profile: Afghanistan
05 Jun 00 | Sci/Tech
The Earth's Ring of Fire
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