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Published On: Mon, Oct 26th, 2015

Afghanistan earthquake: death toll over 100, hundreds injured

A strong earthquake in northern Afghanistan shook buildings from Kabul to Delhi, cut power and communications in some areas and caused more than 100 deaths, mainly in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Pakistani state television announced that at least 94 people were killed and nearly 600 others wounded across the country, while Afghan officials said 33 people were killed and more than 200 wounded.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicenter of the 7.5-magnitude earthquake was in the Hindu Kush mountains, in the sparsely populated province of Badakhshan, which borders Pakistan, Tajikistan and China.

At least 12 students at a girls’ school in the Takhar province, west of Badakhshan, were killed in a stampede as they fled shaking buildings, said Sonatullah Taimor, the spokesman for the provincial governor.

Image/ United States Agency for International Development

Image/ United States Agency for International Development

Another 42 girls were taken to the hospital in the provincial capital of Taluqan. were killed in a stampede as they fled shaking buildings, said Sonatullah Taimor, the spokesman for the provincial governor.

Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah tweeted that the earthquake was the strongest felt in recent decades.

He had earlier called an emergency meeting of disaster officials, which was broadcast live on television. He instructed doctors and hospitals to be prepared to receive and treat casualties.

Abdullah said telecommunications have been disrupted in vast parts of the country, preventing officials from getting a precise picture of damage and casualties. He also warned of aftershocks from the earthquake.

In Pakistan, Zahid Rafiq, an official with the meteorological department, said the quake was felt across the country. In the capital, Islamabad, buildings shook and panicked people poured into the streets, many reciting verses from the Quran.

“I was praying when the massive earthquake rattled my home. I came out in a panic,” said Munir Anwar, a resident of Liaquat Pur in Pakistan’s eastern Punjab province.

Pakistan’s army chief, Gen. Raheel Sharif, ordered troops to the quake-affected areas, the military said in a statement. It gave no further details.

The province also suffers floods, snowstorms and mudslides, and despite vast mineral deposits is one of Afghanistan’s poorest regions. It has recently also been troubled by Taliban-led insurgents, who have used its remote valleys as cover to seize districts as they spread their Sharia Law across villages.

 

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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