Over 1,000 people,
died, hundreds injured
in devastated quake
in eastern Afghanistan

0
6

KABUL: A powerful earthquake struck a remote border region of Afghanistan overnight killing at least 1,000 people and injuring hundreds more, officials said on Wednesday, with the toll expected to rise as desperate rescuers dig through collapsed dwellings.

The quake struck hardest in the rugged east, where people already lead hardscrabble lives in a country in the grip of a humanitarian disaster made worse by the Taliban takeover in August.

Houses were reduced to rubble and bodies swathed in blankets lay on the ground, photographs on Afghan media showed.

Helicopters were deployed in the rescue effort to reach the injured and fly in medical supplies and food, interior ministry official Salahuddin Ayubi said.

In this photo released by a set-run news agency Bakhtar, Afghans look at destruction caused by an earthquake in the province of Paktika, eastern Afghanistan, Wednesday, June 22, 2022. (Bakhtar News Agency via AP)

Most of the confirmed deaths were in the eastern province of Paktika, where 255 people were killed and more than 200 injured, Ayubi added. In the province of Khost, 25 were dead and 90 had been taken to hospital.

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre put the earthquake’s magnitude at 6.1, though the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said it was 5.9.

Pakistan offered assistance on Wednesday after an earthquake of magnitude 6.1 killed 920 people in Afghanistan early in the morning, disaster management officials said, with more than 600 injured and the toll expected to grow as information trickles in from remote mountain villages.
Photographs on Afghan media showed houses reduced to rubble, with bodies swathed in blankets lying on the ground.
“Our authorities and institutions are working to extend required assistance to Afghanistan in coordination with their relevant institutions,” the Pakistan foreign office said. “The people of Pakistan stand in strong solidarity with their Afghan brethren in this difficult time.”
Helicopters were deployed in the rescue effort to reach the injured and fly in medical supplies and food, an interior ministry official, Salahuddin Ayubi, told Reuters.

“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.”
Wednesday’s quake was the deadliest since 2002. It struck about 44 km (27 miles) from the southeastern city of Khost, near the border with Pakistan, the US Geological Survey (USGC) said.
Most of the confirmed deaths were in the eastern province of Paktika, where 255 people were killed and more than 200 injured, Ayubi added. In the province of Khost, 25 were dead and 90 had been taken to hospital.

Mounting a rescue operation could prove a major test for the Taliban, who took over the country in August and have been cut off from much international assistance because of sanctions.
Shaking was felt by about 119 million people in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India, the EMSC said on Twitter, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties in Pakistan.

The disaster comes as Afghanistan grapples with a severe economic crisis since the Taliban took over, as US-led international forces withdrew following two decades of war.
In response to the Taliban takeover, many nations imposed sanctions on Afghanistan’s banking sector and cut billions of dollars worth of development aid.