June 17, 2024

More than 1,000 people killed as magnitude 6.1 earthquake hits Afghanistan

At least 1, 000 people have died and more than 1,500 others have been injured in Afghanistan after a magnitude 6.1 earthquake hit Paktika province early Wednesday, the state-run Bakhtar news agency said, adding that significant damage to property has been recorded across several districts.

Afghan emergency official Sharafuddin Muslim provided the death toll, making Wednesday’s earthquake the deadliest since 2002, when a 6.1 magnitude temblor killed about 1,000 people in northern Afghanistan.

The head of the Taliban administration’s natural disaster ministry Mohammad Nassim was quoted as saying that the majority of the deaths were in the province of Paktika.

The US Geological Survey said the quake struck about 27 miles or 44 kilometers from the city of Khost in Southeastern Afghanistan at a depth of 51 kilometers, and the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) added that tremors from the powerful earthquake were felt across 500 kilometers in Afghanistan, India and Pakistan.

A deputy spokesperson for the Taliban government, Bilal Karimi called on all aid agencies to send aid to affected areas, especially in Paktika province.

“A severe earthquake shook four districts of Paktika province, killing and injuring hundreds of our countrymen and destroying dozens if houses,” Mr. Karimi wrote on Twitter. “We urge all aid agencies to send teams to the area immediately to prevent further catastrophe.”

The United States said it was “deeply saddened to see the devastating earthquake that took the lives of at least 1,000 people in Afghanistan.”

“President Biden is monitoring developments and has directed USAID and other federal government partners to assess U.S. response options to help those most affected,” Sullivan said. “The United States is proud to be the single largest donor of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, and our humanitarian partners are already delivering medical care and shelter supplies on the ground. We are committed to continuing our support for the needs of the Afghan people as we stand with them during and in the aftermath of this terrible tragedy.”

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