An earthquake in Afghanistan kills an estimated 1,000 people and injures 1,500 more, at least, according to Fox News.
Initial reports from authorities were lacking in details, but the death toll is expected to rise as more rescuers continue their search in what is said to be the deadliest shake in 20 years.
Just 10 months after the disorderly U.S. withdrawal and the departure of the majority of the international community from the area following the Taliban takeover last summer, a 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck the country’s Paktika province, complicating efforts to provide relief for the 38 million citizens of the country.
Afghan emergency official Sharafuddin Muslim announced the death toll. The earthquake that struck on Wednesday was the deadliest since a 6.1-magnitude quake that struck northern Afghanistan in 2002 and killed around 1,000 people just after U.S.-led operations to topple the Taliban government in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
Rescuers were said to be flying in helicopters early in the morning, according to state media. Additionally, it was stated that the earthquake in Paktika destroyed hundreds of homes and that dozens of people were reportedly trapped beneath the rubble. In the province of Khost, structures were also harmed.
Video showed the incident’s victims being escorted into helicopters and flown out of the area. Online images from the area showed stone structures that had been destroyed as well as locals rummaging through clay bricks and other debris.
“A severe earthquake shook four districts of Paktika province, killing and injuring hundreds of our countrymen and destroying dozens of houses,” Taliban government deputy spokesman Bilal Karimi wrote on Twitter. “We urge all aid agencies to send teams to the area immediately to prevent further catastrophe.”
It was not immediately obvious whether the damage to homes in some remote areas of Pakistan near the Afghan border was caused by rain or the earthquake, according to Taimoor Khan, a disaster management spokeswoman in the region.
The shocks from the earthquake were felt by 119 million people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India over a distance of 310 miles, according to the European Seismological Center (EMSC).