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950 die, 600 others injure during earthquake in Afghanistan

By Esther Kalu

No fewer than 950 people have been reportedly dead while 600 others were left with varying degrees of injuries following an earthquake of magnitude 6.1 from remote mountain villages in Afghanistan.

Most of the confirmed deaths were said to be in the eastern province of Paktika, where 255 people were killed and more than 200 injured while in the province of Khost, 25 were dead and 90 were said to have been taken to hospital.

Confirming the incident on Wednesday, the Disaster Management officials said that more than 600 people were injured and the toll was expected to grow as information trickles in Photographs on Afghan media showed houses reduced to rubble, with bodies swathed in blankets lying on the ground.

An interior ministry official, Salahuddin Ayubi, disclosed that helicopters were deployed in the rescue effort to reach the injured and fly in medical supplies and food.

“The death toll is likely to rise as some of the villages are in remote areas in the mountains and it will take some time to collect details.” he said.

As gathered, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGC), the earthquake was said to be the deadliest since 2002. It struck about 44 km (27 miles) from the southeastern city of Khost, near the border with Pakistan.

The incident said to add to the challenge for Afghan authorities is recent flooding in many regions, which had killed 11, injured 50 and blocked stretches of highway.

Also, the disaster comes as Afghanistan grapples with a severe economic crisis since the Taliban took over, as U.S.-led international forces withdrew following two decades of war.

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