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#AceBreakingNews – #Earthquake strikes in Afghanistan, killing four locals, plus another nine die in nearby Pakistan
A magnitude-6.5 earthquake has rattled much of Pakistan and Afghanistan, sending panicked residents fleeing from homes and offices and frightening people in remote villages.
At least nine people were killed late on Tuesday, local time, and 44 injured in north-west Pakistan, a Pakistani government official confirmed, and hospitals in northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province declared a state of emergency overnight.
In Afghanistan, at least four people were killed and 50 injured, a health ministry official there said.
More than 200 people were brought to hospitals in the Swat Valley and elsewhere in the region of Pakistan’s north-western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in a state of shock, Bilal Faizi, a spokesman for Pakistan’s emergency services told The Associated Press.
“These terrified people collapsed, and some of them collapsed because of the shock of the earthquake,” he said.
Most were later discharged from hospital.
Mr Faizi and other officials said nine people had died when roofs collapsed in various parts of north-western Pakistan
Dozens of others were injured in the quake, which was centred in Afghanistan and also felt in bordering Tajikistan.
The earthquake triggered landslides in some of the mountainous areas, disrupting traffic.
Officials sad the nine people who died in north-west Pakistan included five men, two women and two children.Police officers and people gather at a hospital in Saidu Sharif, a town Pakistan’s Swat valley.(AP: Naveed Ali)none
Taimoor Khan — a spokesman for the provincial disaster management authority in Pakistan’s north-west — said at least 19 mudbrick homes had collapsed in remote areas.
“We are still collecting data about the damage,” he said.
On Wednesday, powerful tremors sent many people fleeing their homes and offices in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, some reciting verses from the Qur’an, Islam’s holy book. Media reports also suggested cracks had appeared in some apartment buildings in the city.
The scene was repeated in Kabul and other parts of Afghanistan.
“The quake was so strong and terrifying. We thought houses are collapsing on us. People were all shouting and were shocked,” Kabul resident Shafiullah Azimi said.
Another Kabul resident, Aziz Ahmad, 45, said: “In my life, this was first time I have experienced such powerful quake. Everyone was terrified.”
He added that he and all his neighbours had stayed out of their homes for hours, afraid of aftershocks.
“We couldn’t dare to get back home,” he said.
The US Geological Survey said the epicentre of the magnitude-6.5 quake was 40 kilometres south-south-east of Jurm, in Afghanistan’s mountainous Hindukush region, bordering Pakistan and Tajikistan.
Because the quake struck 188 kilometres below the Earth’s surface, it was felt over a wide area.
In a statement, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif said he had asked disaster management officials to remain vigilant, to handle any situation.
The Taliban government in Afghanistan’ main spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, tweeted that the Ministry of Public Health had ordered all health centres to be on standby.
Large parts of South Asia are seismically active because a tectonic plate — known as the Indian plate — is pushing north into the Eurasian plate.
The region is prone to violent seismic upheavals: A magnitude-7.6 quake in 2005 killed thousands of people in Pakistan and Kashmir.
Last year in south-eastern Afghanistan, a 6.1-magnitude quake struck a rugged, mountainous region, flattening stone and mud-brick homes.
Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers put the total death toll from that quake at 1,150, with hundreds more injured, while the UN has offered a lower estimate of 770.
The latest earthquake to hit Pakistan comes as it struggles to recover from last summer’s devastating floods that killed 1,739 people.
Swat Valley in north-west Pakistan was among the areas hit by the floods that were worsened by climate change.
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