A magnitude 6.1 earthquake shook Afghanistan on Wednesday morning, killing at least 920 people and injuring more than 600, according to disaster management officials.
In the pictures that appeared in the Afghan media, the houses turned into piles of rubble, the bodies lying on the ground wrapped in blankets.
Helicopters were deployed in the rescue effort to reach the injured and deliver medical supplies and food, said Salahuddin Ayoubi, an Interior Ministry official.
“The death toll is expected to rise as some villages are in remote areas in the mountains and it will take some time to gather details.”
Aubi added that most of the confirmed deaths occurred in the eastern province of Paktika, where 255 people were killed and more than 200 injured. In Khost province, 25 people were killed and 90 were taken to hospital.
However, another official said the death toll had risen to at least 1,000.
“The numbers are growing. “People are digging graves one after another,” Muhammad Amin Huzaifa, head of the information and culture department in Paktika, told reporters in a message.
Hebatullah Akhundzada, the supreme leader of the ruling Taliban, offered his condolences in a statement.
Wednesday’s quake was the deadliest since 2002. According to the US Geological Survey, the quake struck at 1:54 a.m. (PST), at a depth of about 44 km (27 miles) from the city of Khost near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. In Pakistan, Afghanistan and India, about 119 million people felt the tremors more than 500 km away.
The quake affected Peshawar, Islamabad, Lahore, Kohat, Mohmand, Swat, Buner and other parts of Punjab and KP.
People left their homes in fear and went to safer places. “It was strong,” said a Peshawar resident.
A report from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Disaster Management Authority said that a resident of Lakki Marwat was killed when the roof of his room collapsed in the quake.
The devastation comes as Afghanistan has been in a severe economic crisis since the Taliban took power in August, as US-led international forces were withdrawing after two decades of war. In response to the Taliban’s takeover, many governments have imposed sanctions on Afghanistan’s banking sector and cut billions of dollars in development aid.
Humanitarian aid continues, and international agencies such as the United Nations operate in the country.
An Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman said he would welcome the help of any international organization.
Most parts of South Asia are seismically active because a tectonic plate called the Indian Plate is pushing northward into the Eurasian Plate.
In 2015, an earthquake shook northeastern Afghanistan, killing hundreds of people in Afghanistan and nearby northern Pakistan.
Pakistan has promised humanitarian assistance.
Immediately after the quake was reported, the Pakistani government expressed its condolences and sympathy for the loss of life and property in the neighboring country.
According to a report by Radio Pakistan, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif said that Pakistan stood by its Afghan brothers and sisters in this hour of need and promised to provide all possible assistance.
In a statement, KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan announced that the province would send medical teams to Paktika Province, Afghanistan.
He said that relief items such as medicines, groceries and other aid would also be sent. He directed the provincial ministry of health and chief secretary to take immediate steps in this regard.
President Dr. Arif Alvi expressed his heartfelt condolences to the victims and the injured. “Pakistan stands in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan in this hour of need,” he said.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also expressed deep sorrow over the tragedy and called on the international community to play its role in providing humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people.
In addition, a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “The Pakistani people stand in strong solidarity with their Afghan brothers in this hour of need. We have no doubt that the Afghan people With the effects of this natural disaster will be overcome.
It added that Pakistani authorities and agencies were co-ordinating with relevant Afghan agencies to provide the required assistance in the affected areas.
Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Babar Iftikhar said that Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Nadeem Raza and Services Chiefs have expressed deep sorrow over the loss of precious lives and damage to infrastructure. ۔
“Pakistan’s armed forces are ready to provide all possible humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan,” he said.
Meanwhile, former prime minister and PTI chairman Imran Khan said he had asked the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to facilitate the provision of all medical aid, especially to the neighboring country.