At least 255 people were killed in an earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale that shook Paktita province in eastern Afghanistan early Wednesday, according to the state news agency.
The earthquake news comes at a time when the international community has largely abandoned the country following the Taliban’s rise to power last year amid the chaotic US withdrawal from the longest war in its history. .
This could complicate any relief effort for this country of 38 million people.
The Bakhtar news agency reported the death toll and said rescuers were reaching the area by helicopter. Its CEO, Abdul Wahid Rayan, wrote on Twitter that 90 homes were destroyed in Paktika and dozens of people are believed to be trapped under the rubble.
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“A severe earthquake has rocked four districts in Paktika province, killing and injuring hundreds of our compatriots and destroying dozens of houses,” said Bilal Karimi, deputy Taliban government spokesman, on Twitter.
“We ask all aid agencies to send teams to the area immediately to prevent a further catastrophe.”
The Meteorological Department of neighboring Pakistan put the magnitude of the quake at 6.1. The earthquake was felt in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, and in other areas of the eastern province of Punjab.
The Euro-Mediterranean Seismological Center said the tremors were felt more than 500 kilometers (310 miles) away by 119 million people in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
With information from AP.