At least 920 people were killed and another 600 were injured when a massive earthquake slammed a remote, hilly area of eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistani border early on Wednesday morning, according to the authorities. Officials issued a warning that the number of fatalities will most certainly increase.
It was difficult to get information on the earthquake that had a magnitude of 6.1 and had damaged houses in the provinces of Khost and Paktika. The fact that many foreign humanitarian organizations have departed Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover of the country a year ago and the messy exit of the United States troops from the longest war in its history is likely to make rescue attempts more difficult.
Neighboring According to the Meteorological Department of Pakistan, the epicentre of the earthquake occurred in the Paktika province of Afghanistan. This region is located close to the border with Pakistan and is about 50 kilometers (31 miles) southwest of the city of Khost. In a region like this one, where houses and other structures are often poorly built and landslides are widespread, earthquakes of this magnitude have the potential to inflict significant property damage.
People were seen in video footage from the province of Paktika being loaded onto helicopters in order to be flown out of the region. The majority of the patients were treated on the ground. One person could be seen getting IV fluids while sitting in a plastic chair outside the ruins of his house, while many more residents could be seen splayed out on gurneys. In some of the photographs, locals can be seen digging through the wreckage of collapsed stone homes, which includes clay bricks.
Wednesday’s press briefing provided the fatality toll, which was provided by an Afghan emergency officer named Sharafuddin Muslim. Earlier, Abdul Wahid Rayan, the director-general of the state-run Bakhtar news agency, claimed on Twitter that 90 homes had been demolished in Paktika and that dozens of people are feared to be buried beneath the wreckage. He also stated that the destruction has affected other provinces.
A deputy spokesperson for the Taliban administration, Bilal Karimi, did not provide an exact death toll but posted on Twitter that hundreds of people had been killed and wounded in the earthquake that struck four districts in the province of Paktika.
According to what he tweeted, “we encourage all relief groups to promptly dispatch teams to the region to avert an even worse calamity.”
According to reports from local authorities, the earthquake claimed the lives of at least 25 people and wounded well over 95 others in only one region in the adjacent province of Khost.
Mohammad Hassan Akhund, the Prime Minister of Afghanistan, called an emergency meeting at the Presidential Palace in Kabul in order to coordinate the relief effort being provided to victims in the provinces of Paktika and Khost.
According to a tweet sent by Ramiz Alakbarov, the resident coordinator for the United Nations in Afghanistan, the reaction is now being prepared.
A spokeswoman for disaster management in the region named Taimoor Khan said that it was not immediately evident if the rain or the earthquake was to blame for the damage that was reported in certain rural parts of Pakistan near the Afghan border. This was stated by the spokesperson.
In a statement, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif expressed his sympathies for the victims of the earthquake in Afghanistan and promised that his country will send assistance to the Afghan people.
The shocks caused by the earthquake were felt by 119 million people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, according to the European Seismological Center (EMSC), which is an institution that studies earthquakes. The epicenter of the earthquake was located around 500 kilometers (310 miles) away.
Ever since recorded history, the mountainous territory of Afghanistan, as well as the greater region of South Asia along the Hindu Kush mountains, has been prey to frequent and destructive earthquakes.
A large earthquake that occurred in the country’s northeast in 2015 was responsible for the deaths of more than 200 persons in Afghanistan and the bordering region of northern Pakistan. In 2002, a 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck northern Afghanistan, taking the lives of around one thousand people. In addition, another earthquake of the same magnitude and following aftershocks killed at least 4,500 people in Afghanistan’s remote northeast region in the year 1998.