An earthquake of 6.1 magnitude in Eastern Afghanistan early Wednesday has killed at least 950 people and left scores more injured. The epicenter lay about 44 km from the city of Khost in Paktika province, near the Pakistani border, with a 51 km depth, at 1:54 am local time, according to Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD).
As reported by locals, the death toll may rise as several people are severely injured and stuck in remote mountain areas. Balil Karimi, the Taliban government’s deputy spokesperson, wrote on Twitter, “We urge all aid agencies to send teams to the area immediately to prevent further catastrophe.”
Furthermore, the director-general of the state-run Bakhtar news agency, Abdul Wahid Rayan, tweeted: ” A severe earthquake shook four districts of Paktika province, killing and injuring hundreds of our countrymen and destroying dozens of houses.”
While the earthquake’s tremors were felt over 500 kilometers by 119 million across Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, according to the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC).
However, there are no reports of injury or property damage in India or Pakistan.
Since the Taliban took over the country when the US-led forces withdrew after two decades of war in August 2021, this disaster has dealt a severing blow to the Afghan economy.
Afghanistan, which is prone to earthquakes as it is located in a tectonically active region, has suffered more than 7,000 deaths in the past 10 years and an average of yearly 560 deaths from earthquakes.
Large parts of South Asia are seismically active because a tectonic plate known as the Indian plate is pushing north into the Eurasian plate. Since the country falls over several fault lines, including the Charman fault, the Hari Rud fault, the Central Badakhshan fault, and the Darvaz fault, quakes induce consequential damage. Additionally, there are many rural areas where housing is poorly built.
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