‘Afghanistan Earthquake Update’: Hundreds Killed, Several Injuries Reported; Death Toll May Rise
Tremors from the earthquake that rocked northeastern Afghanistan Monday were also felt in Pakistan, India and Tajikistan. Hundreds were killed, while several others were reported injured. Damage to property was also extensive.Advertisement
At least 263 people across Afghanistan and Pakistan have been reportedly killed in the earthquake. Pakistan officials said that 228 people died, while around 1,000 injured, as reported by the Associated Press. At least 33 people died in Afghanistan, and 200 others that sustained injuries.
A stampede caused in the Tauqan city school as a result of the earthquake led to the deaths of 12 school girls as they tried to evacuate the school. The stampede occurred on the stairwell, between the first and second floors. The victims were between 10 and 15 years old, according to local police spokesman, Abdul Khalil Asir. The school’s principal, Abdul Hai, said, “The neighbors had to bring wooden ladders, remove the windows and help the students out.”
According to the website, Buzzfeed, the epicenter of the earthquake was located 28 miles southwest of the village of Jarm, which is a rural area with many people dwelling in mud brick buildings. Assessing the aftermath is difficult because of poor infrastructure and a mountainous region. While the magnitude of the quake was at first reported to be a 7.7, it was downgraded later.
Mehreen Ali said she was in her car when she felt it shaking. “I thought the car was shaking as the driver was leaning against it,” she said. “Then suddenly, people started coming out of the building in front. People were staring at the building as if it was about to fall as it shook.”
A historic gate collapsed in the town of Ghazni, 60 miles southwest of Kabul. In the Hunza Valley in Pakistan, the earthquake caused a massive landslide at a mountain glacier. Pictures showing the extensive damage to property soon started circulating in social media (they can be seen at the very bottom of the article).
The remote Kunar Province was receiving heavy rainfall when the quake struck, causing landslides in several areas and destroying as many as 1,100 homes and killing 30 people. A woman in Baramulla in Kashmir, panicked by the earthquake, suffered a heart attack and died.
Tremors were also felt in New Delhi, India – 900 miles away from the epicenter. An orange alert was issued by the United States Geological Survey. “Significant casualties are likely and the disaster is potentially widespread. Past events with this alert level have required a regional or national level response,” the USGS said.
India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, said the country will provide assistance and help with relief efforts. In a tweet, Modi said, “I have asked for an urgent assessment and we stand ready for assistance where required, including Afghanistan & Pakistan.”
The earthquake brought back memories of the 7.6 quake that struck Kashmir in 2005 and killed 70,000. In April, as many as 8,700 people were killed in what is believed to be Nepal’s worst earthquake in 80 years. As reported by the New York Times, South Asia is highly prone to earthquakes, primarily because the Indian tectonic plate collides with the Eurasian plate here.
Read the latest on the Afghanistan earthquake in this article.