The death toll in a deadly earthquake that struck in Afghanistan is rising quickly. Initial media reports indicated that at least 12 people were killed in Pakistan, but that number was quickly raised to 13 and is still rising. Now media reports suggest that at least 70 people have been killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The earthquake struck in the area of Feyzabad, Afghanistan close to the border with Pakistan. Although the epicenter was in a remote area, shockwaves traveled to the Afghan capital of Kabul and into Pakistan and northern India. In Pakistan’s capital city Islamabad, hundreds of people fled from buildings as the earthquake shook the ground, reports Reuters. Media reports peg the death toll at 30 or more people, including some in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
— Times of India (@timesofindia) October 26, 2015
The U.S. Geological Survey initially assigned the earthquake a magnitude of 7.7 but later revised it downward to 7.5. The agency gave a one-third chance that the death toll in the quake could climb to between 100 and 1,000 people and that the damage could climb into the millions of dollars.
Many Pakistanis, Afghans injured in earthquake
At first only one death was reported in Peshawar, Pakistan, and officials with the city’s Lady Reading Hospital reported that they received 50 people who were injured in the quake and that more are still being transported. A spokesperson for the hospital said they were injured when a building collapsed due to the earthquake. Later it was reported that hundreds of people have been killed in Peshawar as many buildings have collapsed there. Administators also reported that people are still pouring into the hospital and that many people are still trapped under rubble, so the death toll is expected to continue rising.
The BBC reports that in Takhar Province in Afghanistan, the earthquake triggered a stampede at a girls’ school, which killed 12 students. In addition to those 12 students and the 13 Pakistanis who were killed in the earthquake, five more were killed in Jalalabad, a city in eastern Afghanistan. CNN reports that 17 people are reported dead in Afghanistan.
India also sustained damage in the earthquake
In Kabul, Afghanistan, the buildings shook, but there were no reports of injuries or damage immediately after the quake. People who have lived in Kabul for decades say this is the worst earthquake they have ever felt there.
— Farru? Shai? (@farrukhshaikh) October 26, 2015
In Kashmir, India, the tremors from the quake were prolonged and intense, causing panic and knocking out the power and most mobile phone networks. Roads and buildings also sustained structural damage in the earthquake. Despite the damage, no casualties have been reported in Indian Kashmir. In India’s capital city of Delhi, offices and schools were evacuated as people fled the buildings and ran into the streets.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered an immediate damage assessment, and according to the BBC, experts say the earthquake had the potential to cause serious damage. The USGS warns of serous aftershocks that are usually not as violent as the original earthquake but could cause more damage to structures that were weakened in the first quake. The agency warns that the aftershocks could come hours or even up to months after the first earthquake.