At least 280 people have been killed and more than 200 others injured after a powerful earthquake hit remote parts of southeastern Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan, the country’s disaster management authority says.
Most of the confirmed deaths were in the eastern Afghan province of Paktika, where 255 people had been killed, interior ministry official Salahuddin Ayubi said on Wednesday.
In Khost province, 25 people had been killed and 90 taken to hospital, he said.
“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,” he said.
The head of the Taliban administration’s natural disaster ministry, Mohammad Nassim Haqqani, earlier said that investigations were being conducted to determine if there were more casualties.
Photographs on Afghan media showed houses reduced to rubble.
Afghan journalist Ali M Latifi, reporting from Kabul, said people as far as the Afghan capital felt the aftershocks.
Authorities are reporting hundreds of houses have been destroyed in the region that has not seen a lot of development, Latifi said.
“Authorities have brought in helicopters and are calling for aid agencies to come in and rescue people from the rubble. But it’s a remote area and harder to reach,” he said.
There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties in Pakistan.
The magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck about 44km (27 miles) from the city of Khost, near the Pakistani border, at a depth of 51km (31 miles), the United States Geological Survey said on Wednesday.