A powerful earthquake struck the bordering region in southeastern Afghanistan overnight, killing at least 920 people and injuring 610 hundreds.
The 5.9 magnitude quake smacked hardest several provinces, particularly some parts in Khost, Paktika and Nangarhar provinces and the death toll expected to rise as rescuers dig through collapsed dwellings.
Deputy Minister of State for Disaster Management, Mawlawi Sharafuddin Muslim called for foreign aid to support the victim families in nutshell.
In a press briefing, Muslim said that the “Islamic Emirate will pay 100,000 Afghanis for the families of those who were killed and 50,000” to the families of those injured in the earthquake.
Most of the casualties occurred in Naki, Zirok, Barmal and Gayan districts of Paktika province. “The severe earthquake took the lives of over 280 people and wounded more than 500 others in these four districts,” state-run agency Bakhtar reported citing local officials.
Head of Khost department of information and culture, Shabir Ahmad Osmani said that 25 people died and 40 others were wounded in the earthquake in the province.
According to local officials, helicopter and rescue teams have arrived in the area and a rescue operation has been underway.
Meanwhile, Taliban Spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said that an emergency cabinet meeting was held on Wednesday morning and the Taliban leadership instructed related officials to immediately help affected families.
“The government is working within its capabilities. We hope that the International Community and aid agencies will also help our people in this dire situation,” Anas Haqqni, a senior Taliban official tweeted.
The United Nations and European Union expressed readiness to offer immediate help.
“Inter-agency assessment teams have already been deployed to a number of affected areas,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in Afghanistan said in a tweet post.
UNOCHA also expressed its deep sympathy to all people affected by this disaster.
EU Special Envoy for Afghanistan, Tomas Niklasson in a tweet said “the EU is monitoring the situation and stands ready to coordinate and provide EU emergency assistance to people and communities affected.”
According to the USGS, the earthquake struck 46 km SW of Khōst, Afghanistan at 20:54:36 (UTC) located 33.092°N 69.514°E with a depth of 10.0 km.
Property damage was reported across Afghanistan while the earthquake was felt as far as Pakistan.
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