Death Toll from Earthquake in Pakistan and Afghanistan Rises to 16, More Than 200 Injured

Delhi:  The death toll from the earthquake that shook large parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan rose to 16 on Wednesday. The number of injured also rose to 200.

An earthquake of 6.5-magnitude shook and damaged buildings, triggered landslides and sent people running into the streets, BBC Urdu reported. The epicentre of the earthquake was a mountainous region in Afghanistan’s north-eastern area which borders Pakistan.

The temblor that struck Jurm valley also was felt as far as the Indian capital of New Delhi.

A Kabul resident told news agency AFP that they never felt such tremors in their entire life. The resident was a woman who rushed out of her fifth-storey apartment following the earthquake.

At least nine deaths were reported from Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa valley. Three deaths were reported from Afghanistan. One child died in Afghanistan’s Laghman province, situated near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

“There are about 2,000 to 3,000 people in our village and we all spent the night outside under the sky. We were all scared and stayed awake the entire night,” a resident from the Jurm valley told news agency AFP.

The report by BBC said that several families were outside celebrating the Persian New Year or Nowruz when the quake struck.

The report by BBC pointed out that the remoteness and the rugged terrain of the areas affected by the temblor would slow down rescue operations. Telephone lines were affected and in Pakistan’s Swat valley, landslides blocked highways.

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif directed disaster management agencies to help people on war footing. The tremors were felt over a 1,000-km area spanning India, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan, the BBC reported citing European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre.

The region struck is more prone to earthquakes because it lies at the juncture of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates. Afghanistan witnessed an earthquake of 5.9-magnitude which killed over 1,000 people in Paktika province.

This is the deadliest earthquake to strike the country in nearly a quarter of a century.