At least 12 people died in the strong quake mostly felt Tuesday night in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but the region appears to have avoided the massive loss of life that a tremor of such magnitude is usually associated with.
It was 9:17 p.m. local time in Afghanistan (4:47 p.m. Paris time) when the earth shook for long seconds on Tuesday evening.
From Central Asia, the tremors were felt as far away as New Delhi, India.
The epicenter of the 6.5 magnitude earthquake was located in northeastern Afghanistan near the town of Jorm, on the border with Pakistan and Tajikistan, and at a depth of 187 km, according to the American seismological institute USGS.
In Afghanistan, the authorities recorded this Wednesday three dead and 44 injured, according to a provisional report.
Telephone and internet connections to remote areas of this poor and largely rural country have been cut.
Thousands of people spend the night outside
On June 22, 2022, more than 1,000 Afghans were killed and tens of thousands were left homeless after a magnitude 5.9 earthquake.
This earthquake which struck the poor province of Paktika (southeast) is the deadliest in the country for almost a quarter of a century.
Wednesday, in the district of Jorm, epicenter of the earthquake.
Inamullah, a resident of the village of Soch, told AFP that "
between 2,000 and 3,000 people
" spent the night outside.
We were all scared and stayed up all night.
There were no casualties, but many houses were damaged.
So far, no official has visited us
,” he continued.
We spent the night in our yard... It was cold outside, but we preferred to stay outside rather than go back
,” also testified in Kabul Neda Raihan, a 24-year-old student.
In Afghanistan, many families had left their homes to celebrate Nowruz, the Persian New Year, when the tremors were felt.
It was terrifying.
I had never seen such a tremor in my life
,” Khatera, a resident of the Afghan capital, told AFP on Tuesday evening.
An AFP journalist said several of his neighbors had fled with their children from their building in central Kabul.
They fled without shoes, carrying their children in their hands
,” he said.
Trader in Kabul, Noor Ahmad Hanifi had erected three large tents in the street on Tuesday evening to shelter his family and neighbors for the night, after having fled his home.
When the earthquake started, I thought maybe I was dizzy from my long trip
," explained the father who had just driven thirteen hours.
But when I heard the sound of doors, windows and glass, I understood that it was an earthquake
“The house started shaking”
In Pakistan, authorities in the province of Khyber Paktuhkhwa, north of the capital, announced on Wednesday that nine people had been killed in the earthquake, including two women and two children.
This is a powerful earthquake and we feared significant damage due to its intensity.
That is why we have issued an alert
,” Bilal Faizi, spokesman for the Pakistani emergency service Rescue 1122 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, told AFP.
Fortunately, our fears turned out to be wrong.
Residents panicked due to the magnitude of the earthquake, but the damage was minimal
,” he added.
The whole house started shaking
," said Ikhlaq Kazmi, a retired teacher in the northern Pakistani town.
The children started shouting that there was an earthquake.
We all ran out
”, continued the resident marked by the “
” of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria which last month killed more than 55,000 people.
People ran out of their homes and recited the Koran
," said an AFP correspondent in the city of Rawalpindi in Pakistan.
The earthquake occurred in the mountainous region of the Hindu Kush, which is near the junction of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates, said the Euro-Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC), which also recorded a magnitude of 6. ,5.