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Afghanistan earthquake: CAFOD backs emergency relief

 CAFOD and its sister agencies working in Afghanistan are working closely to aid the emergency relief for people caught up in the earthquake this week. Initial estimates say the death toll from the earthquake in the Nahrin district of Baghlan province could be as high as 2,000. Jason Hayward-Jones is a CAFOD worker who has been seconded to Dutch sister agency Cordaid and is helping establish the recently opened Caritas office in Kabul. He said: "We felt the tremor here in Kabul. It only lasted a few moments. What we are doing is contacting our partners to see what they know and what useful information we can pass on to the UN and Red Cross and the other agencies." The Caritas group of agencies of which CAFOD is a member are working on long-term projects, in agriculture, water systems and education, designed to help get the country back on its feet. Jason said: "We are concentrating on the slower rehabilitating process and we're not equipped to zoom in there with aid trucks. We don't have the capacity to respond effectively with emergency relief. It would be unwise and inappropriate. It is much more useful if we try to assist agencies like the Red Cross who are equipped to deal with it." The workers from the aid agencies in Kabul are working under strict security measures following the discovery of a plot to use car bombs against UN agencies. Jason said the necessary security restrictions were further hampering efforts to help the earthquake victims. "It's been a precarious few days," he said.