Skip to content

Dozens reported killed as powerful earthquake shakes Afghanistan and Pakistan

Spread the news

A powerful earthquake killed at least 255 people and wounded 155 others in Afghanistan early Wednesday, said officials who warned the death toll was likely to rise.

Driving the news: The 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck some 27 miles from the city of Khōst in southeastern Afghanistan and also shook parts of Pakistan, per the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

While the quake that the USGS originally reported as 6.1 magnitude struck Khōst province, officials said the casualties were reported in the Barmala, Ziruk, Naka and Gayan districts of the neighboring Paktika province, near the Pakistan border, according to the state-run Bakhtar News Agency.

What they’re saying: “Unfortunately, last night there was a severe earthquake in four districts of Paktika province, which killed and injured hundreds of our countrymen and destroyed dozens of houses,” tweeted Bilal Karimi, a spokesperson for the ruling Taliban, per a BBC translation.

“We urge all aid agencies to send teams to the area immediately to prevent further catastrophe,” he added.

The big picture: The quake comes after United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet warned last week that since the Taliban reclaimed reclaimed the country last August after the U.S. ended its military presence there it “has been plunged into a deep economic, social, humanitarian and human rights crisis.”

93% of all households are facing “a high level of food insecurity with differential, devastating impact on those most vulnerable,” Bachelet said in an update to the Human Rights Council in Geneva. Access to basic services has also diminished, with the World Health Organization estimated 18.1 million people in need of health services, per Bachelet.

Editor’s note: This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.