An earthquake struck japanese Afghanistan early Wednesday, killing at the least 255 individuals, authorities stated.

Data remained scarce on the magnitude 6 temblor that struck Paktika province, nevertheless it comes because the worldwide group largely has left Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover of the nation final yr amid the chaotic withdrawal of the U.S. army from the longest struggle in its historical past.

That probably will complicate any aid efforts for this nation of 38 million individuals.

The state-run Bakhtar information company reported the dying toll and stated rescuers have been arriving by helicopter. The information company’s director-general, Abdul Wahid Rayan, wrote on Twitter that 90 homes have been destroyed in Paktika and dozens of persons are believed trapped beneath the rubble.

Footage from Paktika province close to the Pakistan border confirmed victims being carried into helicopters to be airlifted from the world. Pictures broadly circulating on-line from the province confirmed destroyed stone homes, with residents selecting by clay bricks and different rubble.

Bakhtar posted footage of a resident receiving IV fluids from a plastic chair outdoors the rubble of his residence and others sprawled on gurneys.

“A extreme earthquake shook 4 districts of Paktika province, killing and injuring a whole bunch of our countrymen and destroying dozens of homes,” Bilal Karimi, a deputy spokesman for the Taliban authorities, individually wrote on Twitter. “We urge all help companies to ship groups to the world instantly to forestall additional disaster.”

In only one district of the neighboring Khost province, the earthquake killed at the least 25 individuals and injured over 95 others, native officers stated whereas warning the dying toll would rise with out pressing authorities assist.

From Kabul, Prime Minister Mohammad Hassan Akhund convened an emergency assembly on the Presidential Palace to coordinate the aid effort for victims in Paktika and Khost.

The U.N. resident coordinator in Afghanistan, Ramiz Alakbarov, expressed condolences to the victims and stated that the world physique’s companies have been responding to the earthquake’s devastation.

“Response is on it’s approach,” he wrote on Twitter.

Neighboring Pakistan’s Meteorological Division put the earthquake at a magnitude 6.1. Tremors have been felt within the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, and elsewhere within the japanese Punjab province. Some distant areas of Pakistan noticed experiences of injury to properties close to the Afghan border, nevertheless it wasn’t instantly clear if that was because of rain or the earthquake, stated Taimoor Khan, a catastrophe administration spokesperson within the space.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif in an announcement supplied his condolences over the earthquake, saying his nation will present assist to the Afghan individuals.

The European seismological company, EMSC, stated the earthquake’s tremors have been felt over 500 kilometers (310 miles) by 119 million individuals throughout Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

Mountainous Afghanistan and the bigger area of South Asia alongside the Hindu Kush mountains, the place the Indian tectonic plate collides with the Eurasian plate to the north, has lengthy been weak to devastating earthquakes. Poor building for properties, hospitals and different buildings put them prone to collapse in earthquakes, whereas landslides stay frequent throughout the mountains of Afghanistan.

In 2015, a significant earthquake that struck the nation’s northeast killed over 200 individuals in Afghanistan and neighboring northern Pakistan. An analogous 6.1 earthquake in 2002 killed about 1,000 individuals in northern Afghanistan. And in 1998, a 6.1-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tremors in Afghanistan’s distant northeast killed at the least 4,500 individuals.


Related Press writers Rahim Faiez and Munir Ahmed in Islamabad and Jon Gambrell and Isabel DeBre in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.

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