Over 150 killed after strong earthquake hits Afghanistan

Over 150 killed after strong earthquake hits Afghanistan

At least 155 people have been killed and more than 200 other injured after a powerful earthquake hit remote parts of southeastern Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan, the country’s disaster management authority says.
The head of the Taliban administration’s natural disaster ministry, Mohammad Nassim Haqqani, said the majority of deaths were in the province of Paktika, where 100 people were killed and 250 injured.
Another 25 people were killed in Khost and five in Nangarhar province, he said, adding that investigations were being conducted to determine if there were more casualties.
Photographs on Afghan media showed houses reduced to rubble.
There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties in Pakistan.
The magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck about 44km (27 miles) from the city of Khost, near the Pakistani border, at a depth of 51km (31 miles), the US Geological Survey said on Wednesday.
The death toll is likely to rise, media reports said.

‘Remote area’
Al Jazeera’s Ali Latifi, reporting from Kabul, said authorities are reporting at least 100 houses have been destroyed.
“Authorities have brought in helicopters and calling for aid agencies to come in. But it’s a remote area and harder to reach,” he said.
Hedayatullah Paktin, journalist and political writer, said that most houses in the region are built traditionally with the use of soil, stone and other materials, adding that concrete houses are rare.
Unfortunately, the quake hits at a time Afghanistan is suffering from a big economic crisis, with little access to basic needs and medical facilities, Paktin told Al Jazeera from the Afghan capital.
Shaking was felt over a range of some 500km (310 miles) by about 119 million people in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India, the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said in a tweet.
It was felt in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul as well as Pakistan’s capital Islamabad, according to witness accounts posted on the EMSC website and by users on Twitter.
“Strong and long jolts,” one witness posted on EMSC from Kabul. “It was strong,” another witness posted from Peshawar in northwestern Pakistan.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department said the quake jolted parts of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces, according to Dawn news website, which added that there were no immediate news of deaths or damage.
The disaster comes as Afghanistan has been enduring a severe economic crisis since the Taliban took over August, as US-led international forces withdrew after two decades of occupation.
In response to the Taliban takeover, many governments have imposed sanctions on Afghanistan’s banking sector and cut billions of dollars worth of development aid.


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