The humanitarian catastrophe is coming at a difficult time for the Taliban-ruled country, which is currently facing famine and economic crisis.
The shock occurred at 1:24 p.m. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the country is 46 kilometers (28.5 miles) southwest of the coastal city (Tuesday 4:54 pm ET), close to the country’s border with Pakistan.
The epicenter was reported below the Pacific Ocean floor, at 10 km / h (6.2 mi), according to the USGS.
The state Ministry of Disaster Management said most of the deaths were in the provinces of Bahtika, Qian, Nika, Parmal and Zirok districts.
The death toll has risen to more than 1,000 and at least 1,500 people have been injured “in the Kayan and Parmal districts of Bakhtika province alone,” Mohammed Amin Hossaifa, head of the Bakhtika provincial information and culture department, told CNN on Wednesday.
The official expects the death toll to rise as search and rescue operations continue.
In the neighboring state of Ghost, 25 people were killed and several others injured, and five were killed in Nangarhar province, according to the Disaster Management Authority.
Photographs of Bhaktika province south of Ghost province show houses collapsing, with only one or two walls standing amidst the rubble and broken roof beams.
Najibullah Sadit, Afghanistan’s watershed management expert, said the quake coincided with heavy monsoon rains in the region – traditional homes, made of many soils and other natural materials, were particularly damaged.
“The time of the quake (in the dark of night) … and the shallow depth of 10 kilometers from its epicenter led to more casualties,” he added.
A team of doctors and seven helicopters have been dispatched to the area to transport the injured to nearby hospitals, Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry said in a tweet on Wednesday.
The situation has paralyzed an economy that already relies heavily on aid. Following the turmoil over the US exit from Afghanistan last year, its economy plunged into independence in April, with the World Bank forecasting that “a combination of declining incomes and rising prices has led to a sharp decline in family living standards.”
The Taliban held an emergency meeting On Wednesday, Taliban spokesman Jabiullah Mujahid said arrangements would be made to transport the injured and provide material assistance to the victims and their families.
Prime Minister Mohammad Hassan Akund called a meeting at the Presidential Palace to instruct all agencies involved to send emergency relief teams to the affected area, Mujahid said in a tweet.
“Measures have also been taken to provide cash assistance and treatment,” Mujahid said, adding that “agencies have been instructed to use air and land transport for food, clothing, medicine and other necessities and for the transportation of the injured.”
Mawlavi Sharabuddin Muslim, Afghanistan’s Deputy Minister for Disaster Management, said on Wednesday that the Islamic Emirate would pay 100,000 AFN ($ 1,116.19) to the families of those killed in the quake and 50,000 ($ 558.10) to their families.
The government also noted the need for foreign assistance.
“The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan invites the generous support of individuals and charities of all international organizations in providing and providing emergency humanitarian assistance,” the statement said.
In a tweet on Wednesday, the World Health Organization said its teams were on the ground for an emergency response, including administering medication, trauma services and conducting on-demand assessments.
Pakistani Prime Minister Shebaz Sharif expressed his condolences and support in a tweet on Wednesday. “I am deeply saddened to learn that there was an earthquake in Afghanistan and that innocent lives were lost as a result,” he wrote. “People in Pakistan share the grief and sorrow of their Afghan brothers. Authorities are working to support Afghanistan at this time of need.”
In a tweet on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Indian Ministry of External Affairs expressed India’s condolences and condolences to the victims and their families.
Pope Francis, during his weekly meeting on Wednesday, said he would pray for “those who lost their lives and their families.” “I hope help will be sent there to help all the suffering of the beloved people of Afghanistan.”
Afghanistan has a long history of earthquakes, many of which occur in the mountainous Hindu Kush region bordering Pakistan.
CNN’s Hada Messiah, Alyssa Kasi and Martin Goilando contributed to the report.