Strong quake kills at least 280, injures 595 in Afghanistan

At least 280 people were killed and 595 injured after an earthquake struck Afghansitan’s Paktika province early on Wednesday, the state-run media reported.

Some 255 people lost their lives in Barmal, Ziruk, Naka and Gayan districts of Paktika province, the most-hit eastern province, state-run Bakhtar News Agency reported, citing the latest local sources.

Helicopters and rescue teams have arrived in the affected areas. In neighbouring Khost province, at least 25 people were killed and 95 others wounded, the report said.

The quake, with a magnitude of 6.1, jolted 44 km southwest of Khost, according to the US Geological Survey.

The quake has damaged dozens of houses in the region and also caused land sliding in Paktika, local sources said.

Local officials say the death toll could rise if the central government did not provide emergency help.

The Deputy Prime Minister in Taliban-led government, who heads the Relief and Disaster Control Authority, directed all concerned parties to reach the affected areas as soon as possible, and to use all available resources. “Save the lives of those affected and provide the necessary assistance to them,” he was quoted as saying by the state-run news agency.