Earthquake in Afghanistan kills at least a thousand people
Steph Deschamps / June 22, 2022
At least a thousand people were killed in the powerful earthquake that struck southeastern Afghanistan on Tuesday night, according to a senior official in one of the most affected provinces.
The death toll has reached 1,000 and is rising. People are digging up grave after grave, said the head of the Information and Culture Department of Paktika province, Mohammad Amin Huzaifa, in a press statement.
The number of fatalities has been rising since the beginning of the day: from 255, it is now over the 1000 dead mark.
Many houses have been damaged and people are trapped inside, deputy government spokesman Bilal Karimi told AFP.
We call on aid agencies to provide immediate assistance to the victims of the earthquake to avoid a humanitarian disaster, he tweeted government spokesman Bilal Karimi.
Forty people were killed and sixty others injured (...), but it is possible that the death toll is higher, Mohammad Amin Huzaifa, director of information and culture in the southeastern province of Paktita, told AFP.
The earthquake, of magnitude 5.9, occurred at a depth of 10 km at 01:00 Wednesday (04:30 GMT), very close to the border with Pakistan, according to the U.S. Seismological Institute (USGS).
A second tremor of magnitude 4.5 struck at almost the same place at the same time, according to the USGS.
According to Yaqub Manzor, a tribal leader from Paktika, many of the injured were from Giyan district in the province and were taken to hospital by ambulances and also helicopters.
Local markets are closed and people have rushed (to help) in the affected areas, he told AFP by phone.
Photos posted on social networks show collapsed houses in the streets of a village in this poor, hard-to-reach rural area.
Afghanistan is frequently hit by earthquakes, especially in the Hindu Kush mountain range, which lies at the junction of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates. These disasters can be particularly devastating due to the low resistance of rural Afghan houses.