According to a state-run news agency, during a massive earthquake early on Wednesday morning in the eastern region of Afghanistan, at least 1,000 people died and 1,500 more were injured. Officials issued a warning that the dismal death toll was expected to increase.
The magnitude 6.1 quake that occurred close to the Pakistani border is still mostly unknown, although quakes of that size may do significant damage in areas where houses and other buildings are shoddily built and landslides are frequent. Only 10 kilometres (6 miles) deep, according to experts, may potentially have a greater impact.
The catastrophe presented a significant test for the Taliban-led government, which took control last year as the US prepared to leave the nation and put an end to its longest war, two decades after overthrowing the same rebels in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
Since many international relief organisations departed Afghanistan when the Taliban took control, the rescue effort is expected to be challenging even though rescuers went to the location by helicopter on Wednesday.
The earthquake’s epicentre, according to Pakistan’s Meteorological Department, was in Afghanistan’s Paktika province, around 50 kilometres (31 miles) southwest of the city of Khost. In the province of Khost, structures were also destroyed, and vibrations could be felt as far away as Islamabad, Pakistan.
Men transferring individuals wrapped in blankets to waiting aircraft were seen in Paktika footage. Others received treatment on the floor. In addition to others lying on gurneys, residents could be seen taking IV fluids while sitting in a plastic chair outside of their home’s debris. Images from damaged stone homes with parts of their roofs or walls caving in showed locals digging through clay bricks and other debris.
In a statement, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif expressed his sympathies for the earthquake and promised assistance. Pope Francis prayed at the Vatican for all those who had died and been hurt as well as for the “suffering of the loving Afghan community.”
According to local authorities, the earthquake left at least 25 people dead and over 95 others hurt in only one area of Khost province. According to Taimoor Khan, a disaster management spokesperson in the region, some rural parts of Pakistan received reports of home damage close to the Afghan border, although it wasn’t immediately apparent whether it was caused by rain or the earthquake.
According to the European Seismological Center (EMSC), 119 million people in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan felt the earthquake’s shocks across a distance of 500 kilometres (310 miles).
Devastating earthquakes have long been a threat in South Asia’s mountainous Hindu Kush area, which includes Afghanistan.