At least 13 killed in Afghanistan-Pakistan earthquake
At least 13 people were killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan by a strong earthquake felt across thousands of kilometres, but the region appeared Wednesday to have dodged the mass casualties usually associated with a tremor of such scale.
The United States Geological Survey said the magnitude 6.5 quake was centred near Jurm in northeastern Afghanistan, but the depth of 187 kilometres (116 miles) mitigated extensive damage.
The quake, which struck around 09:30 pm (1700 GMT) Kabul time on Tuesday and lasted more than 30 seconds, was felt from central Asia to New Delhi in India -- more than 2,000 kilometres away.
"It was a powerful earthquake and we feared maximum damage due to the intensity -- that's why we issued an alert," Bilal Faizi, a spokesman for Pakistan's emergency Rescue 1122 service in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, told AFP.
"But fortunately our fears proved wrong. Residents panicked due to the magnitude of the earthquake, but the damage was minimal."
The region is frequently hit by quakes -- especially in the Hindu Kush mountain range, which lies near the junction of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates.
In Jurm district, near the epicentre, a resident of one village reported no casualties despite the proximity.
"We are about 2,000 to 3,000 people in our village and we all spent the night outside under the sky," said Inamullah, reached by telephone.
"We were all scared and stayed awake the entire night."
Some 50 houses had collapsed in the village located in the snow-capped mountains, an AFP correspondent who arrived in the area reported.
Panicked residents of cities and towns in Afghanistan and Pakistan also fled their homes to seek safety away from buildings -- with many too scared to return....
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