At least 1,000 people have been killed in an earthquake in Afghanistan between Tuesday and Wednesday night.
Afghanistan’s disaster management minister says the death toll has risen to 1,000, with hundreds injured.
“The death toll could rise,” Muhammad Amin Huzaifa, head of Paktika’s information and culture department, told reporters. People are digging graves one after another.
The quake had a magnitude of 6.1 on the Richter scale, officials said.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has lamented the loss of life in Afghanistan due to the earthquake and said that Pakistan would help the neighboring country in this difficult time.
Earlier, Muhammad Naseem Haqqani, head of the Taliban administration’s Disaster Management Authority, said most of the deaths occurred in Paktika province, while hundreds more were injured.
According to the report, deaths were also reported from the eastern provinces of Nangarhar and Khost.
The Associated Press quoted Afghanistan’s state news agency Bakhtar as saying that aid workers were arriving by helicopter in the affected areas.
According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the tremors were also felt in Pakistan on Wednesday morning.
However, no casualties or damage have been reported in Pakistan so far.
The European Mediterranean Seismological Center tweeted that the tremors were felt not only in Pakistan but also in India.
The report quoted social media posts from Kabul and Peshawar residents as saying that “there were strong tremors.”
Reports in the Afghan media show a number of dilapidated houses, with bodies covered in cloth and set aside.
Interior Ministry official Salahuddin Ayoubi said more than 255 people had been killed and more than 200 injured in Paktika.
In Khost, 25 people were killed and 90 injured.
According to Salahuddin Ayoubi, “the death toll is expected to rise as there are reports of damage from remote mountainous areas and full details will take time to emerge.”
Officials say a rescue operation has been launched and workers are being airlifted to remote areas by helicopter.
The country has been facing economic problems since the Taliban took control in August last year, as several countries imposed sanctions on Afghanistan’s banking sector.
A spokesman for the Afghan government said any foreign assistance would be welcomed.