More than 250 people killed in Afghanistan earthquake

Helicopter landing in Paktika province
Rescuers have been arriving in Paktika province by helicopter

A powerful earthquake has killed at least 250 people and left scores injured in Afghanistan, a local official has told reporters.

Pictures shared on social media showed people on stretchers, rubble and ruined homes in Paktika province.

A local government official said the death toll of more than 250 was likely to rise, and that more than 150 others had been injured.

The quake struck about 44km (27 miles) from the south-eastern city of Khost.

Tremors were felt across more than 500km of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, according to the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre, quoted by Reuters.

The centre said that witnesses had reported feeling the quake in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, as well as Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad.

“Unfortunately, last night there was a severe earthquake in four districts of Paktika province, which killed and injured hundreds of our countrymen and destroyed dozens of houses,” government spokesman Bilal Karimi tweeted.

Destroyed building in Paktika

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

The earthquake, which hit during the early hours as many people slept, was a magnitude 6.1 quake at a depth of some 51 km, according to the US Geological Survey.

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