Strong Earthquake Shakes Afghanistan; Kills Nearly 1000 People

An earthquake of magnitude 6.1 killed 920 people in Afghanistan early on Wednesday, disaster management officials said, with more than 600 injured and the toll expected to grow as information trickles in from remote mountain villages.

Photographs on Afghan media showed houses reduced to rubble. Authorities are calling for aid agencies to come in and rescue people from the rubble.

Interior Ministry official, Salahuddin Ayubi have stated that helicopters were deployed in the rescue effort to reach the injured and fly in medical supplies and food.

“The death toll is likely to rise as some of the villages are in remote areas in the mountains and it will take some time to collect details.”

This earthquake was the deadliest since 2002. It struck about 44 km (27 miles) from the southeastern city of Khost, near the border with Pakistan, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGC) said.

At least 255 people were killed in eastern province of Paktika and more than 200 injured, Ayubi said. In the province of Khost, 25 were dead, and 90 had been taken to hospital.

The disaster comes as Afghanistan is dealing with a severe economic crisis since the new government took over in August, following the withdrawal of US-led international forces after two decades of war.

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has offered condolences over the loss of lives and destruction caused in Afghanistan. He said Pakistan will help Afghanistan in any way it can, adding that the concerned authorities have been directed to provide aid to Afghanistan.

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