Afghanistan earthquake death toll passes 920, officials call it ‘deadliest temblor’ in two decades
A severe earthquake occurred in the early hours of this morning near the city of Khost in the southeastern part of Afghanistan
earthquake in Afghanistan. AP
A strong earthquake hit Afghanistan early Wednesday, killing more than 1,000 people. Officials warn that the already dire number is likely to grow.
“We have more than 1,000 dead and more than 1,500 injured. Many villages have been destroyed,” said Amin Huzaifa, head of Paktika province’s culture and information department. Sputnik.
Information is still scarce on magnitude 6.1 near the Pakistani border, but earthquakes of that magnitude would cause severe damage in remote areas where homes and other buildings are built. poor construction and frequent landslides, AP reported.
Rescue efforts are likely to be complicated by the departure of many international aid agencies from Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover of the country last year and the chaotic retreat of US troops from the longest war in history. history. Rescuers rushed to the area by helicopter.
Follow APThe epicenter of the quake was in Afghanistan’s Paktika province, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) southwest of the city of Khost, the neighboring Pakistan Meteorological Department said. Buildings were also damaged in Khost province. The US Geological Survey, which recorded a slightly lower intensity at 5.9, put a depth of just 10 kilometers (6 miles) – another factor that could increase damage.
Footage from Paktika shows people being loaded into helicopters to be transported out of the area. Others were treated on the ground. One resident can be seen receiving intravenous fluids while sitting on plastic chairs outside the rubble of his home and many others lounging on gurneys. Some images show people picking up clay bricks and other debris from destroyed stone houses.
The death toll, given by Afghanistan emergency official Sharafuddin Muslim, makes it the deadliest earthquake since 2002, when a magnitude 6.1 earthquake killed about 1,000 people in the north. Afghanistan shortly after the US-led invasion toppled the Taliban government after the 9/11 attacks, AP reported.
Earlier, the director general of the state news agency Bakhtar, Abdul Wahid Rayan, wrote on Twitter that 90 houses had been destroyed in Paktika and dozens of people were believed to be trapped under the rubble.
Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman for the Taliban government, wrote on Twitter: “We urge all aid agencies to send teams to the area immediately to prevent further disasters.
In Kabul, Prime Minister Mohammad Hassan Akhund convened an emergency meeting at the presidential palace to coordinate relief efforts for the victims in Paktika and Khost.
The UN Resident Coordinator for Afghanistan, Ramiz Alakbarov, wrote on Twitter “response is underway.”
Follow APPakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif in a statement offered condolences over the earthquake, saying his country would help the people of Afghanistan. At the Vatican, Pope Francis prayed for all those killed and wounded and for “the suffering of the dear Afghan people.”
In just one district of Khost province, local officials said, the quake killed at least 25 people and injured more than 95 others.
Taimoor Khan, a spokesman for the disaster management agency in the region, said some remote areas of Pakistan had seen reports of home damage near the Afghan border, but it was unclear if it was due to rain or earthquake.
The European Seismological Service, EMSC, said the quake’s tremors were felt by 119 million people across Afghanistan, Pakistan and India over 500 kilometers (310 miles).
The mountains of Afghanistan and the greater part of South Asia along the Hindu Kush Mountains have long been vulnerable to devastating earthquakes, AP said in a report.
In 2015, a major earthquake in the northeast of the country killed more than 200 people in Afghanistan and neighboring northern Pakistan. In 1998, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tremors in the remote northeast of Afghanistan killed at least 4,500 people.