At least 920 dead and 600 injured as major earthquake strikes Afghanistan

22 June 2022, 10:21 | Updated: 22 June 2022, 10:35

An earthquake of magnitude 6.1 killed at least 280 people in Afghanistan
An earthquake of magnitude 6.1 killed at least 280 people in Afghanistan. Picture: Twitter

By Emma Soteriou

At least 920 people have been killed and 600 injured after a major earthquake struck the Paktika province in Afghanistan.

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A magnitude 6.1 earthquake hit the eastern part of the country in the early hours of Wednesday, officials said.

It struck about 44 km (27 miles) from the city of Khost, near the Pakistani border, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGC) said.

At least 920 people were killed and 600 hurt, an Afghan emergency official said.

Deputy State Minister for Natural Disaster Management Mawlavi Sharfuddin Muslim revealed the huge jump from the originally believed 280 deaths during a press conference.

The toll is likely to continue to rise as information trickles in from remote villages, Interior ministry official Salahuddin Ayubi said added.

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Authorities have since launched a rescue operation and helicopters are being used to reach the injured and take in medical supplies and food.

Bilal Karimi, a deputy spokesman for the Taliban government, said: "A severe earthquake shook four districts of Paktika province, killing and injuring hundreds of our countrymen and destroying dozens of houses.

"We urge all aid agencies to send teams to the area immediately to prevent further catastrophe."

Pakistan's Meteorological Department said tremors were also felt in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, as well as elsewhere in the eastern Punjab province.

The European seismological agency, EMSC, put the magnitude at 6.1 though the USGC said it was 5.9.

The earthquake's tremors were felt over 310 miles by 119 million people across Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, the EMSC said.

Large parts of south Asia are seismically active because a tectonic plate known as the Indian plate is pushing north into the Eurasian plate, according to Reuters.