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Rescuers search rubble of Afghanistan quake that killed 26

By Rich Klein

Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Search-and-rescue operations were underway Tuesday for survivors after a pair of earthquakes struck in the western region of Afghanistan and killed at least 26 people.

The 4.9 and 5.3 magnitude earthquakes struck Afghanistan's northwest province of Badghis near the Turkmen border, according to the U.S. Geological Society. Officials said that between 700 and 1,000 homes were damaged and that the death toll could climb.

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The worst-hit areas were Badruk, Darband-e-Safed and Khak Polak localities in Qadis district, east of the provincial capital Qala-e-Naw," district chief Mohammad Saleh Purdil told China's Xinhua news agency.

The United Nations last week pushed for billions of dollars in new funding to help millions in Afghanistan deal with collapsing basic services. U.S. President Joe Biden pledged to send $308 million in humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan through the United States Agency for International Development following the August withdrawal of American troops from the country.

In November, the United Nations World Food Program said 23 million Afghans were at risk of starvation.

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