At least 2,500 killed in powerful Afghanistan earthquake

FAISABAD, Afghanistan (AP) — Soldiers dug hundreds of bodies from flattened homes in remote northern Afghanistan on Sunday and aid workers flew in supplies for an emergency medical clinic to help survivors of an earthquake that killed at least 2,500 people and injured 2,000.
Saturday’s magnitude-6.9 quake erased entire villages, sliced into mountains, and triggered landslides. Some local officials said the death toll was as high as 5,000. Among those killed were 140 schoolchildren in Rostaq.
United Nations officials flew over some of the most desolate and hardest-hit regions Sunday, setting down briefly near the quake’s epicenter in Shari Basurkh, about 30 miles from the Badakhshan provincial capital of Faisabad.
Saturday’s quake was centered not far from the site where a temblor in February killed 2,300 people and left another 8,000 homeless.
Tons of food, blankets, tents and plastic sheeting were to be loaded onto cargo helicopters Monday in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad and were to be sent to the mountain capital of Faisabad. From there, the supplies will be forwarded to the areas that suffered the greatest damage.
The International Red Cross got one plane into Faisabad on Sunday and was preparing to set up a clinic in the area.
By late Sunday, the weather in Faisabad had turned cloudy and cold, and aid workers feared it could become difficult to ferry supplies into the region.
The United Nations still has about $1.2 million in its emergency fund left over from a massive response to the appeal following February’s earthquake.