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Earthquake kills more than 920, injures at least 600 in Afghanistan: "Death toll is likely to rise"

Earthquake kills more than 920, injures at least 600 in Afghanistan: "Death toll is likely to rise"

The earthquake of magnitude 6.1 hit 44km (27 miles) from the south-eastern city of Khost at a depth of 51km (31 miles), shortly after 01:30 local time (21:00 Tuesday GMT) as residents slept.

At least 920 people have lost their lives after a powerful earthquake hit the remote parts of southeastern Afghanistan. The country’s disaster management authority revealed that more than 600 others have been injured as a result, reports The Washington Post.

"Unfortunately, last night there was a severe earthquake in four districts of Paktika province, which killed and injured hundreds of our countrymen and destroyed dozens of houses," wrote government spokesman Bilal Karimi in a tweet about the earthquake which was initially reported to be of magnitude 6.1. "We urge all aid agencies to send teams to the area immediately to prevent further catastrophe."

The earthquake of magnitude 5.9 hit 27 miles from the south-eastern city of Khost at a depth of 31 miles, shortly after 01:30 local time (21:00 Tuesday GMT) as residents slept. Tremors were felt across more than 500 km of Afghanistan in neighboring Pakistan, Iran, and India, per the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre.



 

 

In Afghanistan, most of the deaths took place in the eastern Afghan province of Paktika, where 255 were killed, said Muhammad Nasim Haqqani, a disaster management spokesman. The Taliban reported earlier that 285 people were killed in the quake. Meanwhile, in the Khost province, 25 died and 90 had to be rushed to the hospital. "The death toll is likely to rise as some of the villages are in remote areas in the mountains and it will take some time to collect details," according to interior ministry official Salahuddin Ayubi, as per ALJAZEERA.

Photographs of the eastern Paktika province show homes reduced to rubbles with rescuers scrambling to treat the injured, reports BBC. In remote locations, helicopters have been carrying victims to the hospital. A local doctor told BBC that Gayan and Barmal districts in Paktika have the most casualties so far and local media reported that a whole village in Gayan has been destroyed.   



 

 

 

Afghanistan is situated in a mountainous, tectonically active region that is prone to quakes. Earthquakes cause significant damage in Afghanistan as most of the rural regions have unstable or poorly built homes. Decades of conflict have made it extremely difficult for the impoverished country to ramp up protection against natural disasters. 

Over the past 10 years, more than 7000 people in Afghanistan have been killed in earthquakes, reports the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. 



 

This is a developing story. 

Cover image source: YouTube Screenshot | WION

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