Hundreds killed in Afghanistan Earthquake

An earthquake of magnitude 6.1 killed at 1000 people in Afghanistan early on Wednesday, officials said, adding that 1500 people are likely to be injured according to state-run Bakhtar News Agency. The quake struck about 44 km (27 miles) from the city of Khost, near the Pakistani border, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGC) said.

Most of the confirmed deaths were in the eastern Afghan province of Paktika, where 255 people had been killed and more than 200 injured, said interior ministry official Salahuddin Ayubi. In Khost province, 25 people had been killed and 90 taken to hospital, he said. The state-run Bakhtar news agency reported the death toll and said rescuers were arriving by helicopter. The news agency’s director-general, Abdul Wahid Rayan, wrote on Twitter that 90 houses have been destroyed in Paktika and dozens of people are believed trapped under the rubble.

The European seismological agency, EMSC, said the earthquake’s tremors were felt over 500 kilometres (310 miles) by 119 million people across Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

Speaking to Reuters news agency, locals described horrific scenes of death and destruction in the aftermath of the late-night earthquake.

“The kids and I screamed,” said Fatima. “One of our rooms was destroyed. Our neighbours screamed and we saw everyone’s rooms.”

“It destroyed the houses of our neighbours,” Faisal said. “When we arrived there were many dead and wounded. They sent us to the hospital. I also saw many dead bodies.”

“Every street you go, you hear people mourning the deaths of their beloved ones,” a journalist in Paktika province told the BBC.

Local farmer Alem Wafa cried as he told the BBC that official rescue teams had yet to reach the remote village of Gyan – one of the worst hit.

“There are no official aid workers, but people from neighbouring cities and villages came here to rescue people,” he said. “I arrived this morning, and I – myself – found 40 dead bodies.”

Most of the dead, he said, were “very young children”. The local hospital just did not have the capacity to deal with such a disaster, the farmer added.

Afghanistan is prone to quakes, as it’s located in a tectonically active region, over a number of fault lines including the Chaman fault, the Hari Rud fault, the Central Badakhshan fault and the Darvaz fault.

Over the past decade more than 7,000 people have been killed in earthquakes in the country, the UN’s Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports. There are an average of 560 deaths a year from earthquakes.

Source- BBC News

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