Thu. Jun 20th, 2024

Afghanistan earthquake: at least 250 dead after 6.1 magnitude quake, state media says

Powerful quake struck early in the morning near the town of Khost south of the capital Kabul.

A 6.1 magnitude earthquake has struck south-east Afghanistan killing at least 920 people and injuring more than 600 others, an Afghan emergency official has said.

At a news conference, Mawlawi Sharafuddin Muslim, the deputy minister for disaster management, also warned that the death toll was likely to rise.

The quake struck early on Wednesday morning local time, its epicentre near the city of Khost, about 95 miles south of Kabul, the US Geological Survey reported.

Earlier, Abdul Wahid Rayan, the director-general of the Bakthar news agency, said the areas hit by the earthquake were in mountainous regions, meaning rescue work was being attempted with helicopters. But he added: “Afghanistan has a shortage of helicopters and these areas being hard to access is making relief work difficult.”

Rayan said information about the casualties was, but that 90 houses had been destroyed in Gayan, a district of Paktika province.

“Strong and long jolts” were felt in Kabul, according to a resident in a posting on the website of the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC).

Photographs on Afghan media and social media showed houses reduced to rubble.

Deaths were also reported in the eastern provinces of Khost and Nangarhar, said Mohammad Nassim Haqqani, the head of the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority.

Bakhtar said local officials feared the death toll could rise if the central government did not provide emergency help.

In a video shared by the news agency on social media, a man points to the homes around him and says, “There’s five people buried under that home; six people under that home, 13 dead bodies under that building.”

Bilal Karimi, a deputy spokesperson for the Taliban government, tweeted: “A severe earthquake shook four districts of Paktika province, killing and injuring hundreds of our countrymen and destroying dozens of houses,. We urge all aid agencies to send teams to the area immediately to prevent further catastrophe.”

The Pakistan Meteorological Department said the earthquake has a magnitude of 6.1. Tremors were felt in Islamabad and elsewhere in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

The EMSC also said tremors were felt in Pakistan to the east of the quake’s epicentre.

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By Chala Dandessa

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