Over 1,000 people were killed in a 5.9 magnitude earthquake in southeastern Afghanistan, near the border of Pakistan, on Wednesday morning, according to The New York Times.
This is the deadliest quake the country has seen in 20 years, with shaking felt by around 119 million people in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, according to Reuters.
More data to come: CNN reports that over 1,500 people have been injured in just the Gayan and Barman districts of the Paktika province. These numbers are projected to increase as data from remote areas trickles in.
- An unknown number of people still remain stuck under rubble. “Many people are still buried under the soil. The rescue teams of the Islamic Emirate have arrived and with the help of local people are trying to take out the dead and injured,” a health worker at a local hospital told Reuters.
About the quake: The earthquake happened only about six miles below Earth’s surface, according to NPR.
- Shallow earthquakes can cause more damage, because the energy from the earthquake doesn’t have as much time and space to dissipate before it hits the surface.
- Earthquakes in Afghanistan happen as a result of the Indian plate sliding at 1.6 inches per year and impacting the Eurasia plate, per the U.S. Geological Survey.
Hindered rescue efforts: Health and rescue efforts are difficult because of the remoteness of the area and lack of many resources in these regions.
- “The quake hits at a time when Afghanistan is already suffering an economic crisis, with little access to basic needs and medical facilities,” Al Jazeera said.
- The New York Times reported that rescue efforts were made difficult because of heavy rainfall and sparse telecommunication. These areas are very rural and remote, which can make it hard to locate all who are injured and in need of assistance.