A strong earthquake killed nearly 1,000 people in Afghanistan, the country’s deputy minister of state for disaster management Mawlawi Sharafuddin Muslim said. He further added that at least 610 people were injured.
Afghanistan Earthquake: Death Toll Almost 1,000; More Than 600 Injured In Paktika Province
Afghanistan Earthquake: Death Toll Almost 1,000; More Than 600 Injured In Paktika Province

“920 people were killed and 610 were injured in last night’s earthquake that hit several provinces of Afghanistan,” the minister was quoted as saying by TOLONews.

The minister also announced ex-gratia for those who died and were injured in the earthquake. He said kin of those deceased will be given 100,000 Afghanis ($1,117) and those who were injured will get 50,000 Afghanis ($558). He also urged international aid to alleviate the crisis.

The Paktika province was among the most affected as pictures and videos of people being stretchered off to hospitals and ruined buildings flooded social media.

Afghan ambassador to India Farid Mamundzay initially told News18 that at least 300 people died in the earthquake which struck in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.

The epicenter of the earthquake was 44 kilometers from the city of Khost in Afghanistan’s southeast.

The tremors of the magnitude 6.1 quake was felt across Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan and their respective capitals Kabul and Islamabad.

The European Mediterranean Seismological Center told news agency Reuters that tremors were also felt in India.

“Unfortunately, last night there was a severe earthquake in four districts of Paktika province, which killed and injured hundreds of our countrymen and destroyed dozens of houses,” Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesperson for the Taliban-led government said.

“We urge all aid agencies to send teams to the area immediately to prevent further catastrophe,” he further added.

The earthquake hit in the wee hours of early morning when most people were asleep.

Meanwhile, India extended condolences to the victims and their families, adding that it is committed to providing all possible help and support.

“India expresses sympathy and condolences to the victims and their families, and to all those impacted by the tragic earthquake in Afghanistan. We share the grief of the people of Afghanistan and remain committed to provide assistance and support in this hour of need,” tweeted MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.

Earlier in January, an earthquake of magnitude 5.3 on the Richter scale hit Afghanistan’s Herat killing more than 28 people.

With the death toll inching towards 300, this is the most devastating earthquake to have hit Afghanistan after 2015 when 399 people died after an earthquake of magnitude 7.5 on the Richter scale hit the nation’s Hindu Kush mountain range.

Afghanistan also witnessed more than thousand deaths in March 2002 when an earthquake of 6.1 magnitude on the Richter scale struck Baghlan and Nahrin regions in the Hindu Kush.

Afghanistan also witnessed more than thousand deaths in March 2002 when an earthquake of 6.1 magnitude on the Richter scale struck Baghlan and Nahrin regions in the Hindu Kush.

The most devastating earthquakes hit Afghanistan in the year 1998 when two separate earthquakes struck Rostaq (5.9 magnitude on the Richter scale) and Badakhshan (6.6 magnitude on the Richter scale) between February and May killing more than 7,000 people.

The nation’s geographical location – Afghanistan is located in a seismically active region, over a number of fault lines including the Chaman fault, the Hari Rud fault, the Central Badakhshan fault and the Darvaz fault – also contributes to the severity of the earthquakes when they occur.

Rural areas of Afghanistan where houses are not stably built are among those which suffer the most when earthquakes strike.

(with inputs from agencies)

 

Source: news18.com
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