In Afghanistan’s eastern Paktika and Khost provinces, a magnitude 6.1 earthquake killed over 1000 people and injured 600 more.
In an interview with Aria News, Sharafuddin Muslim, deputy state minister for disaster management, said the Barmal district of Paktika was the most affected.
Despite this, officials said the death toll is expected to rise as more information trickles in from remote mountain villages.
According to another official, helicopters were used to reach the injured and fly in medical supplies and food.
The earthquake struck about 44 kilometers from Khost, near the Pakistani border, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).
In a statement, Hibatullah Akhundzada, the leader of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, offered his condolences.
“It is with great sadness that we learn that there was a strong earthquake last night in Gyan, Naka, Barmal, and Ziruk districts of Paktika and Spera district of Khost province; so far hundreds of houses have been destroyed, and unfortunately 900 civilians have been killed and more than 600 injured. The death toll may also rise further. It extends its deepest condolences to the families and relatives of all those who lost their lives in this tragic event.”
“As a result, the Ministry of Disaster Management of the Islamic Emirate has been instructed to send all officials, governors and ordinary Afghans to the scene as soon as possible, evacuate the martyrs, transport and treat the wounded, and provide emergency assistance to the displaced.”
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), search and rescue efforts are underway and are being led by IEA authorities.
There have already been interagency assessment teams deployed to several affected areas.