The death toll from a powerful earthquake in Afghanistan has climbed to 920, with more than 600 others wounded, according to the Taliban’s disaster management official, as rescuers try to reach the site of the disaster in remote Paktika and Khost provinces.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the magnitude of the earthquake in the early hours of Wednesday was 5.9, revising an initial estimate at 6.1. The epicentre of the tremor was about 46km (27 miles) from the city of Khost, near the Pakistani border, the USGS said.
“So far the information we have is that at least 920 people have been martyred and 600 injured,” Mawlawi Sharafuddin Muslim, deputy minister of disaster management, told a news conference on Wednesday.
Earlier, interior ministry official Salahuddin Ayubi earlier said the death toll was likely to rise “as some of the villages are in remote areas in the mountains and it will take some time to collect details”.
Yaqub Manzor, a tribal leader from Paktika province, said survivors were mobilizing to help those affected.
“The local markets are closed and all the people have rushed to the affected areas,” he told AFP news agency by telephone.
Footage from Paktika province showed victims being carried into helicopters to be airlifted from the area. Images widely circulating online from the province showed destroyed homes, with residents going through the rubble.