Global NewsAfghan Earthquake: 1,000 people killed, 1,500 wounded

Afghan Earthquake: 1,000 people killed, 1,500 wounded

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A powerful earthquake has killed one thousand people and left hundreds more injured in Afghanistan, a Taliban official has told the BBC.

Pictures show landslides and ruined mud-built homes in eastern Paktika province, where rescuers have been scrambling to treat the injured.

Taliban leader Hibatullah Akhundzada said hundreds of houses were destroyed and the death toll was likely to rise.

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It is the deadliest earthquake to strike Afghanistan in two decades.

The head of information for Paktika province, Mohammad Amin Hazifi, told the BBC that 1,000 people had died and 1,500 more are injured.

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Rescue teams are still searching for others buried under the ground, he added.

The earthquake struck about 44km (27 miles) from the south-eastern city of Khost shortly after 01:30 local time (21:00 Tuesday GMT), when many people were asleep at home.

“Every street you go, you hear people mourning the deaths of their beloved ones. Houses are ruined,” a local journalist in badly-hit Paktika province said to the BBC.

Earthquakes tend to cause significant damage in Afghanistan, where dwellings in many rural areas are unstable or poorly built.

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Communication following the quake is difficult because of damage to mobile phone towers and the death toll could rise further still, another local journalist in the area told the BBC.

“Many people are not aware of the well-being of their relatives because their phones are not working,” he said. “My brother and his family died, and I just learned it after many hours. Many villages have been destroyed.”

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