More than 900 killed in southeastern Afghanistan by a magnitude 6.1 earthquake | International


At least 920 people have died this Wednesday in an earthquake of magnitude 6.1 on the Richter scale in Afghanistan. According to the latest balance of the Afghan Government, at least 920 people have died as a result of the earthquake in the southeast of the Central Asian country. The earth tremor that occurred at 1:30 in the morning, local time (two hours less in mainland Spain), with an epicenter about 44 kilometers from the city of Jost, and at a depth of 51 kilometers, according to the information collected by the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

The Afghan Deputy Minister of Natural Disasters, Sharafuddin Muslim, who has reported the latest balance of fatalities, has put at least 600 people injured by the earthquake. Zabiullah Mujahid, the spokesman for the Islamic Emirate, in power since August 15, has stated that the emergency cabinet has met to discuss assistance to people affected by the earthquake.

Minutes before Muslim’s statements, the Taliban’s supreme leader, Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada, had put the death toll at nearly 300, in a message in which he also conveyed his condolences to the victims of the earthquake. The Taliban leader stressed that the authorities “will take all necessary measures to evacuate the martyrs and transport and care for the wounded”, as well as to “provide immediate aid to the affected people”.

“We also ask the international community, charitable organizations and all humanitarian organizations to help the people of Afghanistan to face this great tragedy,” Akhundzada concluded in his statement, published by the Mujahid spokesman.

Most of the victims have been registered in the Afghan province of Paktika, where at least a hundred people have died and another 250 have been injured, according to the head of the Ministry of Natural Disasters, Mohammad Nassim Haqqani. Another 25 people have died in Khost province, near the Pakistani border, and five more in Nangarhar, as rescue efforts continue.

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Local authorities have warned that the death toll could increase in the coming hours due to the large number of injured and the seriousness of the condition of some of them. “Some of the affected towns are in remote mountain areas, so it will take time to collect information,” said Salahuddin Ayubi of the Interior Ministry.

Images shared on social networks show numerous houses destroyed. The Taliban government has already begun rescue efforts by sending aid, helicopters and medical supplies. Pakistani media have reported that a minor earthquake has shaken the capital, Islamabad, and other parts of the country, although no infrastructure damage or casualties have been reported so far. At least one person has died in this country when the roof of his house collapsed, according to Taimoor Ali, spokesman for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province Disaster Management Authority.

Buildings affected by the earthquake, this Wednesday.Pajhwok Afghan News

“We call on aid agencies to provide immediate assistance to earthquake victims to prevent a humanitarian disaster,” Afghan government spokesman Bilal Karimi said in a tweet.

Afghanistan has a long history of earthquakes, many in the mountainous areas of the Hindu Kush region, which borders Pakistan. If the death toll is confirmed, this morning’s earthquake would be one of the deadliest in the last two decades. In March 2002, a strong double earthquake precisely in the Hindu Kush caused the death of 1,100 people.

In 2015, an earthquake of magnitude 7.7 in the same area caused more than a hundred deaths in Afghanistan and almost 300 deaths in Pakistan, a country in which there were more than 2,000 injuries and more than 36,000 houses were damaged or destroyed.

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