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Powerful earthquake kills at least 11 people in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Originally Published: 21 MAR 23 13:23 ET
Updated: 21 MAR 23 23:50 ET

    (CNN) -- At least 11 people have been killed after a strong earthquake struck northeast Afghanistan on Tuesday, with tremors felt in several major Pakistani cities and as far away as the Indian capital New Delhi.

The 6.5-magnitude quake sent residents fleeing from their homes in towns across northern Afghanistan and Pakistan, as it damaged buildings and triggered landslides.

The epicenter registered 40 kilometers (24 miles) southeast of the Afghan town of Jurm in the Hindu Kush mountain range at 187.6 kilometers (116 miles) deep, the United States Geological Survey reported.

In Afghanistan's northeastern Laghman province, at least two people were killed and at least eight others injured, according to Shafiullah Rahimi, spokesman for the Ministry of Disaster Management.

At least nine people died -- including two children -- as houses and other buildings collapsed in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, according to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA). At least 44 others were injured in the province.

Images from Saidu Sharif, a town in Pakistan's Swat Valley, show ambulances bringing quake victims to hospital as crowds gathered outside.

Ensuing landslides also blocked roads in the northern Pakistani city of Abbotabad, according to Bilal Faizi, spokesperson for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial rescue services.

Though the shock was deep, strong tremors were felt across the region. A CNN team on the ground felt sustained shaking in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad and people were seen evacuating their homes as trees shook. Some Islamabad residents said cracks had appeared in the walls of their homes.

Eyewitnesses in Lahore told CNN tremors were also felt there, while some also felt the ground shake in New Delhi and in Srinagar -- the largest city in Indian-administered Kashmir -- where one resident said he could see his house shaking as neighbors evacuated their homes.

The earthquake comes less than a year after a deadly quake hit Afghanistan's east in June 2022, killing more than 1,000 people and wounding many more, exacerbating an already dire humanitarian crisis in the country.

Afghanistan has a long history of earthquakes, many of which happen in the mountainous Hindu Kush region that borders Pakistan.

This story has been updated to correct the magnitude of the earthquake.

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Kerry Mannix

CNN Newsource


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