- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 27, 2010

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

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. Only one adult male was killed.

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

“This is a very tragic incident,” said provincial Gov. 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 incident happened in the afternoon but that the district was very far and the road was unsafe to travel at night.

“I can’t remember such a major tragic incident,” he said, in his 10 years working as a health official in the province.

He said the police had sent some 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.

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

Houses in rural Afghanistan are traditionally built with mud bricks and wooden beams. Access to health care is also poor, with few clinics or hospitals and mostly unpaved roads.

 

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