Afghanistan earthquake – live: Almost 1000 dead after ‘deadliest earthquake since 2002’

Almost 1,000 people have died after a magnitude 6.1 earthquake hit Afghanistan’s Paktika province early on Wednesday.

The state-run news agency says at least 1000 are killed and more than 1,500 others have been injured, with significant damage to property seen across several districts.

The quake struck about 44km (27 miles) from the city of Khost in southeastern Afghanistan at a depth of 51km, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

Mohammad Nassim Haqqani, head of the Taliban administration’s natural disaster ministry, said earlier that the majority of deaths were in the province of Paktika.

Rescue workers are arriving at the site by helicopter, reported the state-run Bakhtar news agency.

Tremors from the powerful earthquake were felt across over 500km in areas including Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) has said.

According to the death toll given by Afghan emergency official Sharafuddin Muslim, today’s earthquake is now the deadliest since 2002, when a 6.1 magnitude temblor killed about 1,000 people in northern Afghanistan.

Key Points

  • Over 950 dead after huge tremor in Afghanistan’s Paktika province

  • At least 90 houses destroyed, many trapped under the rubble as rescue op underway

  • Taliban urges 'all aid agencies to send teams'

  • Images show the scale of destruction in Paktika province after earthquake

  • Tremors felt in Pakistan and India after 6.1 magnitude earthquake

India expresses sympathy with Afghans

12:00 , Stuti Mishra

The Indian foreign ministry has expressed condolences for the people of Afghanistan, asserting that the country remains “committed to provide assistance and support” to people in the region.

Arindam Bagchi, the spokesperson of India’s ministry of foreign affairs, tweeted: “India expresses sympathy and condolences to the victims and their families, and to all those impacted by the tragic earthquake in Afghanistan.”

“We share the grief of the people of Afghanistan and remain committed to provide assistance and support in this hour of need.”

Reports of damage in border areas of Pakistan

11:47 , Stuti Mishra

There are some reports of damage to homes in some remote areas of Pakistan, near the Afghan border, but it was not immediately clear if that was due to rain or the earthquake, according to Taimoor Khan, a disaster management spokesperson in the area.

Pakistan’s Meteorological Department had put the earthquake at a magnitude 6.1 as the country felt tremors as far as the capital Islamabad and elsewhere in the eastern Punjab province.

The impact was felt as far as India’s western areas.

Pakistan’s prime minister Shahbaz Sharif offered his condolences over the earthquake, saying his nation will provide help to the Afghan people.

'Response is on its way,' says UN coordinator

11:30 , Stuti Mishra

The UN’s resident coordinator in Afghanistan, Ramiz Alakbarov, expressed condolences to the victims and said that the world body’s agencies were responding to the earthquake’s devastation.

“Response is on its way,” he wrote on Twitter.

Rescue helicopter lands in Afghanistan after 6.1 magnitude earthquake

11:20 , Stuti Mishra

Rescue workers are arriving by helicopter to provide aid in the mountainous region of Paktika province where the epicentre of the earthquake is located, the state-run news agency Bakhtar reports.

The news agency’s director-general Abdul Wahid Rayan said earlier that many people continue to remain trapped under the rubble as the quake destroyed at least 90 houses in the difficult-to-reach area.

Tremors felt in Pakistan and India after 6.1 magnitude earthquake hits Afghanistan

11:10 , Stuti Mishra

Tremors from the powerful 6.1 magnitude earthquake were felt across over 500km in areas including in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said in a tweet.

The quake struck about 44km (27 miles) from the city of Khost in southeastern Afghanistan at a depth of 51km, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

Full story: Almost 1,000 dead and many injured as massive earthquake hits Afghanistan

11:00 , Stuti Mishra

Almost 1,000 people have died after a magnitude 6.1 earthquake hit Afghanistan’s Paktika province early on Wednesday.

Disaster management officials revised the death toll up to at least 950 and said more than 600 others have been injured, with significant damage to property seen across several districts.

Today’s earthquake comes as Afghanistan reels under severe economic stress after the US withdrew its forces and the Taliban took control of the country last August.

My colleague Sravasti Dasgupta has all the latest on this here:

Death toll rises to 950 after major earthquake rocks Afghanistan

Video shows people being rescued from the rubble

10:52 , Stuti Mishra

Photos and videos on social media showed people being rescued from the rubble on stretchers.

Images show the scale of destruction in Paktika province after earthquake

10:43 , Stuti Mishra

Afghans look at the destruction caused by a magnitude 6.1 earthquake in the province of Paktika in eastern Afghanistan.

Afghans look at destruction caused by an earthquake in the province of Paktika, eastern Afghanistan (AP)
Afghans look at destruction caused by an earthquake in the province of Paktika, eastern Afghanistan (AP)
A 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit the province of Paktika, eastern Afghanistan (AP)
A 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit the province of Paktika, eastern Afghanistan (AP)
A man standing beside a collapsed mud house following an earthquake in Gayan district, Paktika province (Bakhtar News Agency/AFP)
A man standing beside a collapsed mud house following an earthquake in Gayan district, Paktika province (Bakhtar News Agency/AFP)
Collapsed mud houses following an earthquake in Gayan district (Bakhtar News Agency/AFP)
Collapsed mud houses following an earthquake in Gayan district (Bakhtar News Agency/AFP)

At least 90 houses destroyed, many trapped under the rubble as rescue op underway

10:35 , Stuti Mishra

At least 90 houses have been destroyed and dozens of people are believed to be trapped under the rubble, according to the state-run Bakhtar news agency’s director-general, Abdul Wahid Rayan.

Rescue workers are arriving at the site by helicopter.

Taliban urges 'all aid agencies to send teams'

10:32 , Stuti Mishra

Bilal Karimi, a deputy spokesman for the Taliban government has urged all aid agencies to send aid for those affected as the death toll rises to almost a thousand in the Paktika province after huge tremours.

Mr Karimi wrote on Twitter: “A severe earthquake shook four districts of Paktika province, killing and injuring hundreds of our countrymen and destroying dozens of houses.”

“We urge all aid agencies to send teams to the area immediately to prevent further catastrophe.”

Over 950 dead after huge tremor in Afghanistan’s Paktika province

10:27 , Stuti Mishra

Almost 1,000 people have died after a magnitude 6.1 earthquake hit Afghanistan’s Paktika province early on Wednesday.

Disaster management officials revised the death toll up to at least 950 and said more than 600 others have been injured, with significant damage to property seen across several districts.

Here’s our breaking story with the latest:

10:18 , Stuti Mishra

Welcome to The Independent’s live blog covering all the latest updates from earthquake-hit Afghanistan. Stay tuned!