“At least 280 people have lost their lives and more than 600 others have been injured as a result of an earthquake in Paktika provinces [Est] and Khost [Sud-Est] Tuesday evening”, officials told the state news agency Bakhtar News. The toll should further increase according to the Afghan agency.
“A powerful 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit eastern Afghanistan early Wednesday morning”, confirmed Ariana News. “The earthquake struck Khost and Paktika at 1:24 a.m. Wednesday, followed by a 4.5 magnitude aftershock an hour later according to the US Seismological Institute”continues this private television based in Kabul.
Abdul Ghani Baradar, Acting Deputy Prime Minister and Head of the Disaster Management Commission, called on the authorities to send teams to the affected areas and use all available means to save lives and help those affected. .
Gayan district transformed into a “mass grave”
“I have tragic news from my home province of Paktika, where hundreds of people have been killed and injured in the devastating earthquakes. Houses are destroyed and people are under the rubble. Humanitarian organizations are called upon for immediate assistance in the region”, Kabul police spokesman Khalid Zadran said on Twitter.
Gayan district in Paktika province has been transformed “in the mass grave today”Haji Baqi, a social worker from Gayan, told Afghan journalist Bilal Sarwary, who relayed the remarks on Twitter. “Whole villages have been destroyed. Women and children are among the dead and injured”continued Haji Baqi.
Tremors were felt as far away as the Afghan capital and neighboring northern Pakistan, according to New York Times. The Pakistani foreign minister said he was working to bring aid to Afghanistan, in a statement quoted by the American daily.
According to the Euro-Mediterranean Seismological Center quoted by BBCwitnesses reportedly felt tremors as far away as the Pakistani capital Islamabad. “No injuries were identified and the earthquake caused very little damage in Pakistan”according to BBC in Urdu.
“Afghanistan is to earthquakes what Florida is to hurricanes”writes journalist Bilal Sarwary on Twitter, recalling that Afghanistan is regularly hit by earthquakes, particularly in the Hindu Kush mountain range which is at the meeting point between the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates.
Over the past ten years, more than 7,000 people have been killed in earthquakes in the country, according to the United Nations.