An earthquake of magnitude 5.9 has killed 1,000 people in Afghanistan early on Wednesday, officials said, adding that at least 610 people injured and the toll is likely to rise as information trickles in from remote mountain villages.
The quake struck about 44 kms from the city of Khost, near the Pakistani border, the US Geological Survey (USGC) said. “Strong and long jolts,” a resident of the Afghan capital, Kabul, posted on the website of the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC). “It was strong,” said a resident of Peshawar, reported private news channel.
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Photographs on Afghan media showed houses reduced to rubble, with bodies swathed in blankets lying on the ground.
“The number is increasing. People are digging grave after grave,” Mohammad Amin Huzaifa, head of the Information and Culture Department in Paktika, said in a message to journalists.
Helicopters deployed in the rescue effort to reach the injured and fly in medical supplies and food; said an interior ministry official, Salahuddin Ayubi. “The death toll is likely to rise as some of the villages are in remote areas in the mountains; also it will take some time to collect details.”
Earlier, according to British wire service reports; most of the confirmed deaths in the eastern province of Paktika. Where 255 people killed and more than 200 injured, Ayubi added. In the province of Khost, 25 were dead and 90 had taken to hospital.