Afghanistan and Pakistan earthquake: At least 13 people dead

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Rescue workers unload earthquake victims from an ambulance at a hospital in Saidu Sharif, a town in Pakistan's Swat Valley - AP
Rescue workers unload earthquake victims from an ambulance at a hospital in Saidu Sharif, a town in Pakistan's Swat Valley - AP

At least 13 people have died and more than 90 have been injured in Pakistan and Afghanistan after a magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck late on Tuesday, government officials said.

A Pakistani government official said at least nine people were killed, including two women and two children, and 44 were injured in northwest Pakistan.

Meanwhile, a health ministry official said at least four people were killed and 50 were injured in Afghanistan.

Hospitals in northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province were put into a state of emergency overnight.

More than 200 people were brought to hospitals in the Swat valley and elsewhere in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in a state of shock, Bilal Faizi, a spokesman for Pakistan's emergency services told The Associated Press.

“These terrified people collapsed, and some of them collapsed because of the shock of the earthquake,” he said. Mr Faizi said most were later discharged from the hospital.

Rescue workers and people gather at a hospital in Saidu Sharif - AP
Rescue workers and people gather at a hospital in Saidu Sharif - AP

Houses and buildings in both countries were also damaged, authorities said.

The quake was felt over an area more than 621 miles wide by some 285 million people in Pakistan, India, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan, the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre said.

The epicentre was in the Hindu Kush mountains, in the sparsely populated northeastern Afghan province of Badakhshan, southeast of Jurm village, at the considerable depth of 187km, the US Geological Survey said.

In Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, senior provincial official Abdul Basit said at least 19 houses were damaged.

Shafiullah Rahimi, a spokesperson for Afghanistan's disaster mitigation ministry, said late on Tuesday that two people had been killed in the eastern province of Laghman.

Large parts of South Asia are seismically active because a tectonic plate known as the Indian plate is pushing north into the Eurasian plate.

Over 55,000 people were killed by an earthquake that struck southeastern Turkey and parts of Syria last month, heightening fears across the region.

"The children started shouting that there is an earthquake. We all ran out. The horrors of the earthquake in Turkey and neighbouring countries had a strong effect on our nerves," said Ikhlaq Kazmi, a retired professor in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi.

A 6.1 magnitude earthquake in eastern Afghanistan killed more than 1,000 people last year. In 2005, at least 73,000 people were killed by a 7.6 magnitude quake that struck northern Pakistan.