June 11, 2012 – Afghanistan Rocked by Two Killer Quakes: Scores of people are feared dead in an earthquake and landslide that buried 20 houses in northern Afghanistan on Monday, officials said. Details of the destruction were slow to emerge from the remote district. Rescuers have so far pulled two women’s bodies from the rubble of the landslide in Baghlan province and expect many others were buried, said provincial Gov. Abdul Majid. The U.N. confirmed one other death and said houses were destroyed across five districts.
An earthquake measuring a magnitude 5.4 struck the Hindu Kush region Monday morning, followed (27 minutes later) by a 5.7 quake, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Both were felt as far away as the Afghan capital, Kabul, where buildings shook. Baghlan province’s Burka district, the site of the landslide, is a remote collection of mountain villages. It takes more than two hours to drive the approximately 25 miles from the provincial capital of Pul-e-Khumri to the area. There are no medical clinics in Burka, said Dr. Salim Rasouli, so medics and ambulances were sent from the nearest city. “Right now our doctors, nurses and ambulances are at the site, helping people. As there is no communication system there, we cannot get the latest information on the casualties right now,” Rasouli said.
Because the quakes occurred at relatively shallow 15 kilometers ( 9 miles) they were much more destructive than deep quakes. The second quake struck at 9:59Am local time and was 5.7, preceded by a 5.4 magnitude tremor. It was 1:59AM in New York (June 11th), 12:59AM in Chicago, 11:59PM in Chicago (June 10th) and 10:59PM in Los Angeles. (Credits – Earthquake data USGS, Narrative – Emergency and Disaster Information Service, Hungary, Budapest and W.G. Foster).