At least 280 people were killed and 595 injured in an earthquake that struck Afghanistan’s Paktika province early Wednesday.
The state-run Bakhtar news agency, citing the latest local sources, reported that around 255 people lost their lives in the worst-affected eastern province of Paktika province in Barmal, Ziruk, Naka and Gyan districts.
Helicopters and rescue teams have reached the affected areas. The report said at least 25 people were killed and 95 others were injured in neighboring Khost province.
According to the US Geological Survey, a 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck 44 km south-west of Khost.
Dozens of houses in the area were damaged by the quake, local sources said, and the ground in Paktika was eroded.
Local officials say the death toll could rise if the central government does not provide emergency help.
The deputy prime minister, who heads the Relief and Disaster Control Authority in the Taliban-led government, directed all concerned to reach the affected areas at the earliest and use all available resources.
“Save the lives of those affected and provide them the necessary assistance,” the state news agency quoted him as saying.