Earthquake kills 280 people in Afghanistan | World

A massive earthquake killed at least 280 people in Afghanistan on Wednesday, officials said, adding that hundreds of people were injured and the number of dead and injured is expected to rise as information comes in from remote mountain villages.

The earthquake occurred 44 km from the city of Khost, close to the Pakistani border, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said.

The Meteorological Department of neighboring Pakistan said the quake reached a magnitude of 6.1. The USGS reported that the earthquake had a magnitude of 5.9.

Afghan media footage showed houses reduced to rubble and bodies covered in blankets on the ground.

Most of the confirmed deaths were in the eastern Afghan province of Paktika, where 255 people were killed and more than 200 were injured, said Salahuddin Ayubi, an official with the Interior Ministry.

In Khost province, 25 people died and 90 were taken to hospital.

“The death toll is likely to rise as some of the villages are in remote areas in the mountains and it will take some time to collect details,” the Interior Ministry representative said.

Strong earthquake shakes Afghanistan and leaves hundreds dead – Photo: Reproduction / Twitter

Authorities have launched a rescue operation and helicopters are being used to reach the wounded and take medical supplies and food, he added.

The quake was also felt in Pakistan and India. There are no immediate reports of damage or casualties in these countries.

The disaster comes as Afghanistan has been facing a severe economic crisis since the Taliban took power in August last year as US-led international forces were withdrawing after two decades of war.

A spokesperson for the Afghan Foreign Ministry said he would welcome help from any international organization.

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