At least 280 people have been killed by a magnitude-6.1 earthquake in Afghanistan’s east, according to Taliban officials.
- Most of the confirmed deaths were in the province of Paktika, where 100 people were killed
- The earthquake was felt across 500km
- There have been no immediate reports of damage or casualties in Pakistan
Most of the confirmed deaths were in the province of Paktika, where 100 people were killed and 250 were injured, the head of the Taliban administration’s disaster management authority said.
Deaths were also reported in the eastern provinces of Nangarhar and Khost, he added
Authorities are searching for more casualties.
The earthquake was felt over some 500 kilometres by about 119 million people in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India, the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said in a tweet.
There were no immediate reports of damage or deaths in Pakistan.
Rescue operations underway
Eyewitnesses told the ABC the earthquake hit late in the night when people were asleep in the war-ravaged country .
Ruh Ullah, a Kabul-based tailor from Paktika province, said he was traumatised by the quake.
“Ever since I have heard of the devastation back home, I am crying, the mobile phone connections are not properly working and no-one is telling me if my extended family members are alive or not,” he said.
His native Barmal district was one of the worst-hit areas of south-east Afghanistan.
Firdaus Khan, a resident of Sharana, the provincial capital of Paktika province, told the ABC the only public hospital in the province of nearly a million inhabitants, had been overwhelmed by earthquake victims.
“Most of the victims are women and children because they were caught asleep by the calamity … there is absolute shortage of resources, doctors and all other things needed”, he said.
“People don’t know what to do.”
The state-owned Bakhtar news agency reported more than 280 people had been killed in the disaster.
It said rescue operations had been launched to minimise likely further deaths and loss of property.
The Taliban authorities, which have not been recognised by any country since taking power in Kabul in August 2021, reported losses in the entire south-eastern region , which comprises the Paktika, Paktia, Logar, Khost and Logar provinces.
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