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Dozens killed, 100 injured in new Afghan quake

Afghanistan, April 12, 2002

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    A family lives in a tent near the rubble of their house after it was destroyed by the March 25 earthquake. Three earthquakes have hit the Nahrin region in northern Afghanistan in the past two months. Photo: Joerg Denker/Mercy Corps Photo:

A third powerful earthquake to hit northern Afghanistan in less then two months has killed dozens of people and injured hundreds.

The magnitude 5.8 quake struck early Friday morning and was centered near the village of Doabi in the Nahrin district about 100 miles north of Kabul.

Mercy Corps is working with partner agencies to assess the damage and to support displaced families in the region.

The quake zone is in the same area as the devastating March 25 earthquake that killed up to 1,000 people and left 30,000 homeless. Mercy Corps distributed 3,000 blankets and 500 tents to displaced residents in Doabi at the time.

With many houses destroyed by the previous quakes, most families were staying in temporary tents and shelters during this morning’s earthquake.

"It's a very mountainous region and the tents are standing in valleys," Joerg Denker, Mercy Corps northern Afghanistan program manager, told the Associated Press. "The problem is not that the houses are falling, it's that the rocks are coming down from the mountains."

Denker, who is based in Mercy Corps’ office in Taloqan 55 miles north of Nahrin, said he was told by colleagues on the scene that the quake was closer to the surface than the last and that the damage was fairly significant.

"We could feel it here and it was not so strong as the last one, but since it was a surface earthquake it was much stronger at the region around the epicenter," he said.