A powerful earthquake with a magnitude ranging from 6.5 to 6.8 hit Pakistan and Afghanistan on Tuesday evening, resulting in at least 40 fatalities. The quake struck at approximately 9:50 PM local time, causing widespread panic and destruction across the affected areas. According to reports, the epicenter of the earthquake was located in the northern Afghan province of Badakhshan, specifically in the village of Jum.
The Pakistan Meteorological Authority recorded the earthquake as having a magnitude of 6.8, while the US earthquake monitor located the epicenter of the earthquake in the same village but gave it a magnitude of 6.5. Meanwhile, the German Research Center for Geosciences (GFZ) in Potsdam estimated the magnitude to be 6.5, with the earthquake occurring at a depth of up to 200 kilometers.
In Pakistan, a local civil protection authority in the northern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa spoke of at least nine dead and at least 40 injured. Several injuries were also reported from Afghanistan, but the full extent of the quake was still unknown late into the evening. The authorities are still assessing the full impact of the recent earthquake, but the incident highlights the importance of disaster preparedness and emergency response measures in the affected areas.
The Hindu Kush region and neighboring countries are no strangers to severe earthquakes, as it is where the Arabian, Indian, and Eurasian plates meet. The region is characterized by numerous active faults, making it one of the most seismically active regions in the world. As a result, heavy earthquakes repeatedly occur in this area, causing widespread damage and loss of life.
In the summer of 2022, a devastating earthquake killed more than 1,000 people in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. This most recent earthquake is a grim reminder of the destructive power of natural disasters and the importance of being prepared for them.
The impact of the recent earthquake was felt as far as Kazakhstan, with residents in southern cities such as Shymkent and Taras seen on social media videos running excitedly into the streets. The incident has caused widespread concern among the people of the affected areas, who are still recovering from the previous earthquake that occurred less than a year ago.
This earthquake brings back harrowing memories of the severe earthquakes in Turkey and northern Syria in early February, which caused over 50,000 deaths in Turkey alone. Around two million people were forced to seek refuge in emergency shelters such as tents and containers, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported approximately 6,800 deaths in the tremors across Syria.
The authorities in Pakistan and Afghanistan are working closely with aid agencies and other organizations to provide assistance to those affected by the earthquake. The incident highlights the need for continued efforts to improve disaster preparedness and response measures, especially in areas that are prone to earthquakes and other natural disasters.
Our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of those affected by this tragedy, and we hope that the international community will continue to support the relief efforts in the affected areas.