AFGHANISTAN/PAKISTAN: An earthquake of 6.5 magnitude shook northern Afghanistan on Tuesday evening, killing at least 13 people and injuring over 90 in Pakistan and Afghanistan, government authorities said.
At least nine people died and 44 were injured in northwest Pakistan. Overnight, hospitals in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were placed in a state of emergency.
Afghanistan’s health ministry source reported at least four fatalities and 50 injuries. Buildings and houses in both nations were also damaged, officials said.
The quake’s epicenter was in the Hindu Kush mountain range, 40 kilometers (25 miles) southeast of the Afghan village of Jurm, close to the Pakistani and Tajik borders, said the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) on Tuesday.
In the northern Pakistani district of Swat, where hospitals had declared a state of emergency, a 13-year-old girl died when a wall in her house fell on her, and 150 people were hurt, a police official said. A spokesman for Afghanistan’s ministry in charge of dealing with disasters said that two people have died in the eastern province of Laghman.
Aid workers and government officials said that Badakhshan and other places in the north felt a very strong shaking. A Red Cross spokesman said that there were no immediate reports of damage in the capital of Badakhshan, but that they were looking into other areas.
The director of Badakhshan’s information division, Mahzudeen Ahmadi, told the media that they were also searching the area for any deaths but had not yet received any reports.
“We felt a strong earthquake, and from what I’ve heard, Yamgan District was hit the hardest,” he said. Some of the remote villages in Badakhshan’s mountains can be challenging to reach and lack phone and internet service.
A police district spokesman said that a wall around a police station in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region of northern Pakistan that was 90 meters (295 feet) long fell down, but no one was hurt.
Even the Indian capital city of New Delhi felt the trembling. In Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, where a deadly earthquake claimed the lives of more than 80,000 people in 2005, people fled their homes while sobbing and reciting sacred texts, said a witness.
The EMSC said that the earthquake was felt by about 285 million people in India, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan, as well as in Afghanistan, over a 1,000 km wide area.
A tectonic plate known as the Indian Plate is moving north into the Eurasian Plate, which is causing seismic activity in significant portions of South Asia. Last year, more than 1,000 people perished in an earthquake of 6.1 magnitude that struck eastern Afghanistan.
A 7.6-magnitude earthquake that hit northern Pakistan in 2005 killed at least 73,000 people.
Also Read: 6.8-magnitude Earthquake Hits Ecuador, Kills at Least 14