An earthquake in eastern Afghanistan killed at least 255 people Wednesday morning, according to local authorities, although details of the incident remain limited.
The magnitude 6 earthquake hit the Paktika province of the country, just 10 months after the chaotic U.S. withdrawal and the departure of most of the international community from the region following last summer’s Taliban takeover, which complicates efforts to offer relief to the nation’s 38 million people.
State media reported the death count and said rescuers were arriving to the providence on helicopters. The earthquake destroyed at least 90 houses in Paktika and dozens of people are said to be trapped under the debris.
Video showed victims of the incident being carried into helicopters to be airlifted from the region. Photos circulating online from the area revealed demolished stone houses, and residents picking through clay bricks and other rubble.
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“A severe earthquake shook four districts of Paktika province, killing and injuring hundreds of our countrymen and destroying dozens of houses,” Taliban government deputy spokesman Bilal Karimi wrote on Twitter. “We urge all aid agencies to send teams to the area immediately to prevent further catastrophe.”
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Neighboring Pakistan’s Meteorological Department reported a 6.1 magnitude earthquake. Tremors could be felt in Pakistan’s capital of Islamabad, and elsewhere in the eastern Punjab province.
According to the European seismological agency EMSC, the earthquake’s tremors were felt over 310 miles by 119 million people across Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
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The G3 Box News contributed to this report.