KABUL: Seven people were killed, dozens injured and many homes destroyed when a powerful earthquake struck eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, officials said.
Strong tremors were felt in the Afghan capital Kabul and across the border in different parts of Pakistan.
The quake, measured at a magnitude of 5.6 by the US Geological Survey, sent people rushing from their homes in worst-hit areas of Afghanistan.
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 told AFP.
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 mudbrick homes in panic when the tremor was felt, a witness said, describing it as “very powerful”. Two walls in one village collapsed, he said.
The quake struck around 2:25 pm at a depth of 65 kilometres. Its epicentre was 25 kilometres northwest of the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad near the Pakistani border, the USGS said.
Tremors were also felt in Pakistan’s Chitral, Islamabad, Gujranwala, Mianwali, Muzaffarabad, Faisalabad, Peshawar, Lahore and Rawalpindi cities as well as in Hazara and Mansehra division.
Pakistan’s meteorological office put the magnitude at 6.2.
There were no reports of any damage in Pakistan.
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.
Wednesday’s tremors came a week after a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake centred in Iran affected thousands of people in remote southeastern Pakistan and killed 41 people.
One of the worst-hit areas was Mashkhel, a remote community in the southwestern Balochistan province, where the lack of paved roads, phone coverage, immense distances and inadequate medical facilities hampered rescue efforts.
On October 8, 2005 a 7.6-magnitude earthquake killed more than 73,000 people and left about 3.5 million homeless, mainly in Pakistani-administered Kashmir and parts of northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.