A powerful earthquake was felt thousands of kilometers away in Afghanistan and Pakistan claiming the lives of at least 12 people, but it appeared Wednesday that the area avoided the widespread devastation that such an earthquake of this magnitude is typically accompanied by.
The magnitude 6.5 earthquake, according to the United States Geological Survey, was centered close to Jurm in northeastern Afghanistan, however, the depth of 187 kilometers (116 miles) limited the extent of the damage.
The earthquake, which occurred on Tuesday at 09:30 Kabul time and lasted for more than 30 seconds, was felt more than 2,000 kilometers away in New Delhi, India, in central Asia.
“It was a powerful earthquake and we feared maximum damage due to the intensity — that’s why we issued an alert,” Bilal Faizi, a spokesman for Pakistan’s emergency Rescue 1122 service in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, told our correspondent.
“But fortunately our fears proved wrong. Residents panicked due to the magnitude of the earthquake, but the damage was minimal.”
The Hindu Kush mountain range, which is close to the meeting point of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates, is particularly susceptible to earthquakes that frequently strike the area.
A residual from one village in Jurm district, close to the epicentre, stated there were no injuries despite the area.
“We are about 2,000 to 3,000 people in our village and we all spent the night outside under the sky,” said Inamullah, reached by phone.
“We were all scared and stayed awake the entire night.”
Several terrified citizens of Afghanistan and Pakistan’s cities and towns also ran away from their homes in a panic to find protection outside of structures.
“We stayed the night in our courtyard… it was cold outside, but we preferred to stay out rather than go back,” 24-year-old student Neda Raihan told our correspondent in Kabul.
In the Pakistani capital’s Khudadad Heights, a sizable multi-story residential complex, residents were forced to leave after the structure developed significant fractures.
An earthquake that occurred last month in portions of Syria and southern Turkey claimed the lives of over 55,000 people, inciting terror throughout the region.
“The children started shouting that there is an earthquake. We all ran out. The horrors of the earthquake in Turkey and neighboring countries had a strong effect on our nerves,” said Ikhlaq Kazmi, a retired professor in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi.
Nine people were killed in the earthquake, including two women and two children, according to officials in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which is located north of the capital of Pakistan.
Officials in Afghanistan reported three fatalities and 44 injuries, but phone and internet connections to rural areas of the nation had been cut off, making communication difficult.
According to government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, all health facilities in the nation have been placed on high alert.
Shehbaz Sharif, the prime minister of Pakistan, gave the National Disaster Management Authority instructions to be prepared for any emergency.
As a 5.9-magnitude earthquake slammed the poor region of Paktika in June of last year, it was the deadliest earthquake to hit Afghanistan in 25 years, leaving more than 1,000 people dead and tens of thousands homeless.
Shopkeeper Noor Mohammad Hanifi set up tents in the street for his family to stay in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.
Hanifi stated, “that no one dared enter his family’s home while they sought cover beneath blankets.”
The Taliban’s takeover of the nation in August 2021 has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis engulfing Afghanistan.
After the takeover, the South Asian nation’s reliance on foreign aid for development was cut off, and assets held abroad were frozen.