June 11, 2023

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At least 9 killed after a strong earthquake struck Pakistan and Afghanistan

A 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck most parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan on Tuesday, sending panicked residents to flee homes and offices and terrifying even the most remote villages. At least nine people have died.

More than 100 people have been taken to hospitals in the Swat Valley district of northwestern Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Bilal Faizi, a spokesman for Pakistan’s emergency services, told the Associated Press.

“These terrified people fell and some collapsed because of the shock of the earthquake,” he said. Faizi said most of them were later discharged from the hospital.

Faizi and other officials said nine people were killed when roofs collapsed in different parts of northwest Pakistan. Dozens were injured in the earthquake, which had its epicenter in Afghanistan and was also felt in the border region with Tajikistan. The quake triggered landslides in some mountainous areas, causing traffic disruption.

At least 19 brick houses have collapsed in remote areas, said Taimoor Khan, spokesman for the Northwest Regional Disaster Management Authority. “We are still collecting data on the damage,” he said.

Strong tremors sent many people fleeing their homes and offices in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, some reciting verses from the Koran, Islam’s holy book. Media reports indicated that cracks appeared in some residential buildings in the city.

The scene was repeated in Kabul and other parts of Afghanistan.

“The earthquake was strong and terrifying. We thought houses were collapsing on us. All people were screaming and shocked,” said Shafiullah Azimi, a resident of Kabul.

People in the streets after the strong earthquake in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, March 21, 2023.

Mohammad Reza/Anadolu Agency/Getty

There have been varying reports about the epicenter and magnitude of the earthquake, but the USGS mentioned A 6.5-magnitude earthquake is in far northeastern Afghanistan, near the country’s border with Pakistan, at a depth of about 116 miles. The Associated Press reported that the earthquake was felt in the border region with Tajikistan. People in Delhi, India, who took refuge in social media in the aftermath of the quake, reported that they also felt the quake.

The USGS initially assessed that there was a “low probability” of damage or injuries based on the location and magnitude of the earthquake. Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the government in Afghanistan, initially said that no casualties had been reported in Afghanistan tweet Posted about an hour after the earthquake. In any case, health centers across the country have been put on standby, the spokesperson added. he He said Later, the Afghan Ministry of Public Health ordered resources to be deployed to potentially affected areas in the northern part of the country, where the earthquake may have caused damage.

Rakhshinda Tuseed, a doctor, said she was in her hospital in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore when the quake struck. “I quickly asked the patients to move to a safer place,” she said.

Khurram Shahzad, a resident of the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi, said he was having dinner with his family in a restaurant when the walls started swaying.

“I quickly thought it was a big restaurant, and we left the restaurant and walked out,” he told the Associated Press by phone. He said he saw hundreds of people standing in the streets.

A similar situation was in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on the border with Afghanistan, where people were seen standing outside their homes and offices.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said in a statement that he had asked disaster management officials to remain vigilant to deal with any situation.

Zabihullah Mujahid, the main spokesman for the Taliban government in Afghanistan, tweeted that the Ministry of Public Health had ordered all health centers to be on standby.

The region is prone to violent seismic disturbances. a 7.6 magnitude earthquake in 2005 Killed thousands of people in Pakistan and Kashmir.

Last year in southeastern Afghanistan, prof A 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck a rugged mountainous area, flattening houses built of stone and adobe. The Taliban rulers in Afghanistan put the total death toll in the earthquake at 1,150, with hundreds more injured, while the United Nations gave a lower estimate of 770.

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