Many dead in earthquake in Afghanistan

An earthquake hit the eastern Afghan province of Paktika badly: at least 255 people are said to have died and more than 150 injured.

The Afghan-Pakistani border region has been shaken by a violent earthquake. The state news agency Bakhtar reported that at least 255 people were killed and more than 150 injured. Numerous houses in the eastern Afghan province of Paktika are said to have been destroyed.

The AFP news agency had previously reported at least 40 dead and more than 60 injured, based on government information.

“It is possible that these numbers will increase,” Kabul government spokesman Bilal Karimi said on Twitter on Wednesday. “We call on the aid organizations to provide immediate assistance to the victims of the earthquake in order to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe.”

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The information from regional seismic stations on the strength initially fluctuated. Pakistani authorities gave the earthquake late Tuesday evening (local time) with a magnitude of 6.1. The US earthquake monitor (USGS) reported a magnitude of 5.9 and a slightly weaker aftershock. Accordingly, the center of the earthquake was around 50 kilometers southwest of the city of Khost near the border with Pakistan at a depth of around ten kilometers.

According to Pakistani information, the tremors were felt in large parts of the country, in the capital Islamabad and even in Lahore in the east of the country. According to the civil protection authority, local emergency services tried to gain access to the affected remote mountainous region. The Pakistani side initially gave no information on damage and casualties.

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