Seven people were killed, dozens injured and many homes destroyed when a powerful earthquake struck eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, officials said.
The quake, measured at a magnitude of 5.6 by the US Geological Survey, sent people rushing from their homes in worst-hit areas and was felt in the Afghan capital Kabul and in Islamabad in neighbouring Pakistan.
It struck at 9.25am GMT at a depth of 62 kilometres, with its epicentre 24 kilometres northwest of the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad near the Pakistani border, the USGS said in a revised update.
Six people died in Nangarhar province of which Jalalabad is the capital, said provincial spokesman Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, and 75 people were injured. Forty of them were given first aid and the rest admitted to hospital for further treatment.
“We are still in the process of getting information from the affected areas. Among the dead are some children,” Abdulzai said.
One person was killed and one injured in neighbouring Kunar province and many homes were destroyed, said provincial spokesman Wasefullah Wasef.
In Kama district outside Jalalabad, people ran from their mud brick homes in panic when the tremor was felt, a witness said, describing it as “very powerful”. Two walls in one village collapsed, he said.
Afghanistan is frequently hit by earthquakes, especially in the Hindu Kush mountain range which lies near the juncture of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates.
In June last year two quakes in the area triggered landslides that killed at least 75 villagers.
Wednesday’s tremors came a week after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake centred in Iran affected thousands of people in remote southeastern Pakistan and killed 41 people.
Pakistani victims have staged angry protests, accusing the government of failing to provide adequate relief after hundreds of homes were destroyed or damaged.
On October 8, 2005 a 7.6-magnitude earthquake killed more than 73,000 people and left about 3.5 million homeless, mainly in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir and parts of northwestern province Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.