A powerful earthquake hit a rural, mountainous region of southeastern Afghanistan early Wednesday morning, killing at least 920 people and injuring 600 others in the deadliest earthquake in two decades. , the authorities said.
Officials warn that the already dire number is likely to rise.
Information about a magnitude 5.9 quake is scarce, but earthquakes of that magnitude will cause severe damage in remote areas where homes and other buildings are built. is poor and often landslides occur.
The quake comes as Afghanistan is facing a severe humanitarian crisis due to Western sanctions imposed after the Taliban took over the country last August.
Footage from Paktika shows people being loaded into helicopters to be transported out of the area. Others were treated on the ground. One resident can be seen receiving intravenous fluids while sitting on a plastic chair outside the rubble of his home and still many others lounging on gurneys. Some images show people picking up clay bricks and other debris from destroyed stone houses.
Prime Minister Mohammad Hassan Akhund convened an emergency meeting at the presidential palace to coordinate relief efforts for the victims in Paktika and Khost.
Taimoor Khan, a spokesman for the disaster management agency in the region, said some remote areas of Pakistan had seen reports of home damage near the Afghan border, but it was unclear if it was due to rain. or earthquake.
The mountains of Afghanistan and greater South Asia along the Hindu Kush mountain range have long been prone to earthquakes.
In 2015, a major earthquake in the northeast of the country killed more than 200 people in Afghanistan and neighboring northern Pakistan. In 1998, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tremors in the remote northeast of Afghanistan killed at least 4,500 people.