An earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale struck eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, leaving at least 255 people dead and dozens more injured. The quake, which was felt in neighboring Pakistan and India, struck near the border with Pakistan in Paktika province. The area is sparsely populated, so the death toll is likely to rise as officials are able to reach remote areas.
A magnitude-6 earthquake struck eastern Afghanistan early Wednesday, killing at least 255 people, authorities said. The scale of the quake remained unknown, but it comes as the international community has largely left Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover of the country last year amid the chaotic withdrawal of the U.S. military from its longest war in history.
The country has an estimated population of 38 million people. This will make any rescue efforts much more difficult. The state-controlled Bakhtar news agency reported the death toll and said rescuers were arriving by helicopter, according to reports. Abdul Wahid Rayan, the director-general of the news agency, wrote on Twitter about it.
Residents receiving IV fluids from a plastic chair outside the ruins of their homes were filmed by Bakhtar. Others were stretched out on gurneys, according to footage posted by Bakhtar.
The earthquake was measured at a magnitude of 6.1 by Pakistan’s Meteorological Department. In Islamabad, Pakistan, and throughout eastern Punjab province, the shakes were noticeable.
The magnitude of the earthquake was 6.5 on the Richter scale and its epicenter was located in Pakistan’s northern Baltistan region, according to the European Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC). The earthquake shook over 500 kilometers (310 miles) through Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, affecting 119 million people.