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Roof collapses at Afghan wedding; 65 dead

Associated Press / October 28, 2010

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KABUL, Afghanistan — A roof collapsed yesterday during a wedding in a remote area in northern Afghanistan, killing 65 people, nearly all women and children, police said.

Most of the dead were women celebrating the wedding on the top floor of a mud brick house packed with guests, said Jawad Bashart, spokesman of the Baghlan provincial police. One adult male was killed.

He added that 12 children were among the dead and 40 other people were injured at the wedding, which took place in the Jelga district. Women and men traditionally have separate celebrations at weddings.

“This is a very tragic incident,’’ said provincial Governor Abdul Majid. He said an exact death toll was difficult to establish because of conflicting reports and the remoteness of the area.

“In those remote areas, the economy is not so good. People don’t build such strong houses as they do in the city,’’ he said.

Dr. Salim Rasouli, the provincial health chief, said that the roof collapsed in the afternoon but the road was unsafe to travel at night. He said police had sent four-wheel-drive vehicles to the region to assist.

“Unfortunately it is a very remote area. We don’t have any access. The nearest clinic is in the neighboring district,’’ he said.

Rasouli said he heard that six women had been brought by their families to the hospital in an adjacent district for treatment after a torturous drive of several hours. In some places, the road was so bad that the injured had to be transferred to more sturdy vehicles.

Houses in rural Afghanistan are traditionally built with mud bricks and wooden beams.

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