Islamabad [Pakistan], March 22: At least nine people were killed and scores wounded after a strong earthquake jolted parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan on Tuesday night, officials said.Reports of the extent of the destruction began gradually trickling in from remote areas.
The 6.5-magnitude earthquake with the epicentre in the Hindukush mountains in Afghanistan hit at around 10 pm, forcing people to run out of their homes in fear. The earthquake struck at a depth of 187 kilometres, according to The US Geological Survey. Pakistan's Metrological Department put the magnitude at 6.8. Tremors were also felt in India.
According to the National Disaster Management Authority, children are among the dead. The agency said at least 30 people were injured.
The agency said that most deaths have occurred in the country's remote north-western region that borders Afghanistan. Collapsing houses and crumbling walls caused the casualties. According to local officials, a state of emergency has been declared in most mountainous districts in the province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the worse affected region.
Pakistan's Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel ordered authorities to declare a state of emergency in Islamabad's hospitals. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has ordered the disaster agencies to reach the remote regions as soon as possible, his secretariat said.
The tremor was very deep, 194 km, and its epicentre was in the Hindu Kush mountain range near the remote northern Afghan province of Badakhshan.
A 13-year-old girl died when a wall in her home collapsed on her, and 150 people were injured in the northern Pakistani district of Swat, where hospitals had declared a state of emergency. ShafiullahRahimi, a spokesperson for Afghanistan's disaster mitigation ministry, said two people had been killed in eastern Laghman province.
Twelve people were injured in northwest Pakistan in the quake, which was centred in Afghanistan and also felt in bordering Tajikistan.
The tremors were so powerful that many people fled their homes and offices in Pakistan's capital of Islamabad, some reciting verses from the Quran. The scene was repeated in Kabul and other parts of Afghanistan.
"The quake was so strong and terrifying, we thought houses are collapsing on us, people were all shouting and were shocked," said ShafiullahAzimi, a Kabul resident.
Source: Qatar Tribune