KABUL: A 6.1-magnitude earthquake killed at least 280 people in Afghanistan early Wednesday (June 22), officials said, adding that hundreds of people were injured and the death toll is likely to rise to as information comes in from remote mountain villages.
The earthquake occurred about 44 kilometers from the city of Khost, near the border with Pakistan, the United States Geological Survey (USGC) said.
“Strong and prolonged shaking,” posted a resident of the Afghan capital Kabul on the website of the European Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC).
“It was strong,” said a resident of the city of Peshawar, in northwestern Pakistan.
Photographs in the Afghan media showed houses reduced to rubble and bodies covered in blankets on the ground.
The EMSC put the magnitude at 6.1 although the USGC said it was 5.9.
Most of the confirmed deaths were in the eastern Afghan province of Paktika, where 255 people were killed and more than 200 wounded, Interior Ministry official Salahuddin Ayubi said.
In Khost province, 25 people have died and 90 have been taken to hospital, it said.
“The death toll is likely to rise as some of the villages are in remote areas in the mountains and it will take some time to gather details,” he said.
Authorities had launched a rescue operation and helicopters were being used to reach the wounded and bring in medical supplies and food, it added.
Some 119 million people felt the tremor in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India, the EMSC said on Twitter.
There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties in Pakistan.