Afghanistan hit by earthquake as tremors felt in Pakistan and India

At least nine people have been killed in the quake

Victims of the earthquake taken to a hospital in Saidu Sharif, a town in Pakistan's Swat valley. AP Photo
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A magnitude-6.5 earthquake rattled parts of Afghanistan on Tuesday evening, with tremors felt as far as Pakistan and India.

The 30-second quake struck 40km south of Jurm, in Afghanistan's north, at a depth of more than 297km, according to the US Geological survey. Pakistan authorities said it was a 7.7-magnitude earthquake.

More than 100 people were taken to hospitals in the Swat Valley region of Pakistan's north-western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in a state of shock, Bilal Faizi, a spokesman for Pakistan's emergency services, told AP.

“These terrified people collapsed, and some of them collapsed because of the shock of the earthquake,” Mr Faizi said.

He said most were later discharged from the hospital.

Mr Faizi and other officials said nine people were killed when roofs collapsed in various parts of north-western Pakistan.

Dozens were injured in the quake, which was centred in Afghanistan and felt in bordering Tajikistan.

The earthquake caused landslides in some of the mountainous areas, disrupting traffic.

Taimoor Khan, a spokesman for the provincial disaster management authority in the north-west, said at least 19 mudbrick homes collapsed in remote areas.

“We are still collecting data about the damages,” Mr Khan said.

Afghanistan Earthquake - in pictures

Residents fled their homes in the capital Islamabad and other parts of the country as strong shaking was felt. There were no immediate reports of damage.

People in Rawalpindi ran out of their houses and were reciting the Quran, AFP reported, with similar stories in the capital Islamabad, Lahore and elsewhere in the country.

The scene was repeated in Kabul and other parts of Afghanistan.

"The quake was so strong and terrifying,” said Shafiullah Azimi, a Kabul resident. "We thought houses are collapsing on us. People were all shouting and were shocked.

Videos posted on social media showed apartment buildings with large cracks said to be caused by the earthquake.

“We were about to go for a walk when suddenly we felt that the whole tower was shaking,” Meenakshi Bansal, a resident inof Noida, a satellite city of Delhi, told The National.

"We immediately rushed out of the house. The bed was shaking. My mother forgot to turn off the stove. It was very scary."

Sonam Arora, who lives on the sixth floor of a high-rise in Noida, said: “The ceiling lamps were shaking, the bed was shaking. It was terrifying. It lasted for a few seconds. I rushed with my three-year-old son."

Delhi is prone to earthquakes and scientists and experts have long warned of an impending quake in the city.

“We were sitting and talking when suddenly we felt the earthquake," a resident in Kashmir told The National.

"I rushed out with my two daughters and wife. Thankfully there were no damages but it was terrifying."

Afghanistan is often hit by earthquakes, especially in the Hindu Kush range near the junction of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates.

More than 1,000 people were killed and tens of thousands made homeless after a 5.9-magnitude quake — the deadliest in Afghanistan for nearly a quarter of a century — struck the impoverished province of Paktika on June 22 last year.

Updated: March 22, 2023, 5:49 AM