An earthquake of magnitude 6.1 killed 1000 people in Afghanistan early on Wednesday, disaster management officials said, with more than 600 injured and the count expected to grow as information trickles in from remote mountain villages.
Neighbouring Pakistan’s Meteorological Department said the quake’s epicentre was in Afghanistan’s Paktika Province, just near the border and some 50 kilometres (31 miles) southwest of the city of Khost. Such temblors can cause severe damage, particularly in an area like this one where homes and other buildings are poorly constructed and landslides are common.
“So far the information we have is that at least 1000 people have been martyred and 600 injured,” Mawlawi Sharafuddin Muslim, deputy minister of disaster management, told a news conference on Wednesday.
Earlier, interior ministry official Salahuddin Ayubi earlier said the death toll was likely to rise “as some of the villages are in remote areas in the mountains and it will take some time to collect details”.
In Kabul, Prime Minister Mohammad Hassan Akhund convened an emergency meeting at the presidential palace to coordinate the relief effort for victims in Paktika and Khost.
The “response is on its way”, the U.N. Resident Coordinator in Afghanistan, Ramiz Alakbarov, wrote on Twitter.
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.