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Quake kills dozens, destroys hundreds of homes in Afghanistan

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The afternoon quake on Monday reduced brick homes to rubble.

At least 26 people have been killed after a shallow earthquake of magnitude 5.3 hit western Afghanistan on Monday, destroying hundreds of homes.

Provincial officials said the victims, including women and children, died when roofs of their houses collapsed in Qadis district in the western province of Badghis bordering Turkmenistan.

The quake also inflicted damage on the residents of Muqr district in the province but details including of casualties were still unavailable.

Afghanistan is already in the grip of a humanitarian disaster because of Western countries' decision to freeze international aid and access to the country's assets held abroad.

Qadis is one of the areas worst affected by a devastating drought, benefiting little from international aid in the past 20 years.

The afternoon quake on Monday reduced brick homes to rubble. Heavy rain was also lashing the area, with officials saying the number of casualties might go up.

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

The country is frequently hit by earthquakes, especially in the Hindu Kush mountain range, which lies near the junction of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates.

Earthquakes can cause significant damage to poorly built homes and buildings in impoverished Afghanistan.

In 2015, nearly 280 people were killed when a powerful 7.5-magnitude earthquake centered in the mountain range ripped across South Asia, with the bulk of the deaths in Pakistan.

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