At least 280 people were killed and scores injured after a 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck remote parts of southeastern Afghanistan.
The quake struck in the wee hours Wednesday morning local time with its epicenter near the town of Khost south of the capital, Kabul, the US Geological Survey reported.
Most of the destruction was reported in four districts of Paktika province.
At least 255 people were killed and 155 others injured in the Barmala, Ziruk, Naka, and Gayan districts of Paktika province, Afghanistan’s Bakhtar news agency said on Wednesday morning.
In Khost province, 25 people had been killed and 90 taken to hospital, said interior ministry official Salahuddin Ayubi said.
“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,” he said.
Mohammad Nassim Haqqani, the head of the Taliban administration’s disaster management authority, in a statement says deaths were also reported in the eastern provinces of Khost and Nangarhar.
Bakhtar he added that the local officials feared the death toll could rise if the central government did not provide emergency help.
Rescue teams were being sent into the stricken areas via helicopters.
Images circulating on social media showed houses reduced to rubble and the aftermath of the earthquake.
The taliban sent rescue teams & helicopters to the affected areas & shifted injured persons to markaz paktia & khost.— سلیمان لایق (@Sulaimanlayaq) June 22, 2022
But the victims need immediately help from world organisations.
We should to raising voice for victims.#Afghanistan #earthquake pic.twitter.com/5bF9FDREC4
At least 250 people have lost their lives after a powerful earthquake jolted #Afghanistan's Paktika province.— Hamza Azhar Salam (@HamzaAzhrSalam) June 22, 2022
Prayers for the victims of this horrendous tragedy. Sadly, the world has been quick to forget about #Afghans. #paktika #AfghanWomen #earthquake pic.twitter.com/Rcygdaq2OR
Strong tremors were also felt in neighbouring Pakistan and Iran.
However, there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties in the two countries.