An earthquake of magnitude 6.1 has killed at least 280 persons in the eastern provinces of Afghanistan on Wednesday, Reuters reported.
Salahuddin Ayubi, an official from the Taliban administration’s interior ministry, said that 255 people were killed and over 200 were injured in the province of Paktika. Twenty-five deaths were reported in the Nangarhar province.
“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 collect details,” Ayubi said, according to Reuters. “Authorities have launched a rescue operation and helicopters are being used to reach those injured and take medical supplies and food.”
Bilal Karimi, a deputy spokesperson for the Taliban government, said that the earthquake destroyed several houses in the region, the Associated Press reported.
“We urge all aid agencies to send teams to the area immediately to prevent further catastrophe,” he said.
The United States Geological Survey said that the quake struck about 44 km from the city of Khost in southeastern Afghanistan at a depth of 51 km.
Tremors were also felt in neighbouring Pakistan’s Punjab province and parts of India, according to Reuters. However, no reports of damage or deaths have been reported from the countries.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif offered his condolences over the earthquake.
“People in Pakistan share the grief and sorrow of their Afghan brethren,” Sharif said. “Relevant authorities working to support Afghanistan in this time of need.”
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