Islamabad/Kabul: A powerful 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck northern Afghanistan today, with the tremors felt as far away as India and Pakistan, where one girl was killed and 11 people were injured. The quake hit at 12:37 IST near Afghanistan’s northern border with Tajikistan in the Hindu Kush mountains at a depth of 191 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said.
AFP news agency reported that frightened residents ran out of homes and shops in Kabul. No casualties were immediately reported in Afghanistan, the spokesman for the country’s National Disaster Management Authority told 1TV.
Across the border in Pakistan, homes, offices and schools were quickly evacuated in Islamabad, Peshawar and Lahore. Mild tremors were also felt in New Delhi. In Pakistan’s Quetta town, one girl was killed after the roof of her house collapsed during the earthquake.
Deputy Commissioner Shabir Mengal said they were also incidents in other parts of Quetta where around a dozen people were injured due to building damages or collapses. He said some villages in the Balochistan province also felt the tremors.
“The injured have been rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment. Emergency has been declared in all hospitals,” he said.
Rescue teams were also dispatched to the nearby Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province to assess reports of damage. However Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority did not expect serious losses, a spokesman said.
AFP said the epicentre was near Afghanistan’s Jarm, which was hit by a devastating 7.5 magnitude quake in October 2015 that triggered landslides and flattened buildings, killing more than 380 people across the region. Afghanistan is frequently hit by earthquakes, especially in the Hindu Kush mountain range, which lies near the junction of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates.
Aid agencies have stressed the need for greater disaster preparedness in the war-torn country, which remains extremely susceptible to recurring natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes and landslides.