NEWS– Authorities in Afghanistan have confirmed that a strong earthquake has struck Eastern Afghanistan early today morning killing at least 255 people.
Its reported that an earthquake measuring about 6 magnitude struck Paktika province and it’s likely that the international community is silent about the tragedy and will complicate any relief efforts for this country of 38 million people.
Local media reported that the death toll may increase and said rescuers were arriving by helicopter where 90 houses have been destroyed in Paktika and dozens of people are believed trapped under the rubble.
Paktika province is located near the Pakistan border and pictures showed victims being carried into helicopters to be airlifted from the area.
The Deputy spokesman for the Taliban government Bilal Karimi confirmed that a severe earthquake shook 4 districts of Paktika province, killing and injuring hundreds of people but did not mention the affected number.
Karimi urge all aid agencies to send teams to the area immediately to prevent further catastrophe.
Local officials Khost province, the earthquake killed at least 25 people and injured over 95 others, and there is a warning the death toll would rise if no urgent government help is done.
The Afghanistan Prime Minister Mohammad Hassan Akhund has convened an emergency meeting at the Presidential Palace to coordinate the relief effort for victims in Paktika and Khost.
The U.N. resident coordinator in Afghanistan, Ramiz Alakbarov, expressed condolences to the victims and said that the world body’s agencies were responding to the earthquake’s devastation.
Neighboring Pakistan’s Meteorological Department put the earthquake at a magnitude 6.1 saying that tremors were felt in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, and elsewhere in the eastern Punjab province.and some remote areas of Pakistan saw reports of damage to homes near the Afghan border.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif in a statement offered his condolences over the earthquake, saying his nation will provide help to the Afghan people.
The European seismological agency, EMSC, said the earthquake’s tremors were felt over 500 kilometers affecting an estimated 119 million people across Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
In 2015, a major earthquake that struck the country’s northeast killed over 200 people in Afghanistan and neighboring northern Pakistan while similar 6.1 earthquake in 2002 killed about 1,000 people in northern Afghanistan and in 1998, a 6.1-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tremors in Afghanistan’s remote northeast killed at least 4,500 people.
Additional Reporting by Aljazeera News.