Afghanistan-Pakistan earthquake kills 12
A strong earthquake felt over thousands of kilometers in Afghanistan and Pakistan killed at least 12 people on Wednesday March 22.
The magnitude 6.5 earthquake was centered near Jurm in northeastern Afghanistan, according to the US Geological Survey, but the depth of 187 kilometers (116 miles) reduced significant damage.
The quake, which struck around 9:30 p.m. Kabul time on Tuesday and lasted more than 30 seconds, was felt from central Asia to New Delhi, India, over a distance of more than 2,000 kilometers.
“It was a powerful earthquake and we feared maximum damage due to the intensity, that’s why we issued an alert,” Bilal Faizi, spokesman for the Pakistani emergency service, told AFP. Rescue 1122 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“But fortunately our fears turned out to be wrong. Residents panicked due to the magnitude of the earthquake, but damage was minimal.
The region is frequently hit by earthquakes, especially in the Hindu Kush mountain range, which lies near the junction of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates.
In Jurm district, near the epicenter, a resident of a village reported no casualties despite the location.
“We are around 2,000 to 3,000 people in our village and we all spent the night outside under the sky,” Inamullah said, reached by phone.
“We were all scared and stayed up all night.”
Panicked residents of towns and villages in Afghanistan and Pakistan have also fled their homes to seek safety away from buildings, far too frightened to return.
“We spent the night in our courtyard (…) it was cold outside, but we preferred to stay outside rather than leave,” Neda Raihan, a 24-year-old student in Kabul, told AFP.
More than 55,000 people have been killed by an earthquake that hit southeastern Turkey and parts of Syria last month, stoking fears across the region.
“The children started shouting that there was an earthquake. We all ran. The horrors of the earthquake in Turkey and neighboring countries had a strong effect on our nerves,” said Ikhlaq Kazmi, a retired professor in the Pakistani town of Rawalpindi.
In Afghanistan, officials reported three dead and 44 injured, but phone and internet links to remote parts of the country had been cut and communications spotty, while officials in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, north of Pakistani capital, said nine people were killed in the quake, including two women and two children.