Afghanistan’s strongest earthquake in more than six decades shook buildings across South Asia, prompting officials from Kabul to Islamabad to New Delhi to send out rescue teams to search for survivors. More than 130 people died.
A 7.5 magnitude quake struck 254 kilometers (158 miles) north of the Afghan capital at a depth of 213 kilometers at 2:39 p.m. Indian time, the U.S. Geological Survey said. It was the first major temblor in the region since April, when a 7.8 earthquake in Nepal killed more than 8,000 people and triggered deadly avalanches on Mount Everest.
“The strongest earthquake in recent years has caused heavy damages and casualties in the nation,” Abdullah Abdullah, Afghanistan’s chief executive officer, told the country in a televised address. He said that 11 children died in a stampede as they tried to run out of a school building during the earthquake.
The quake caused landslides, disrupted mobile phone networks and caused houses to collapse in Pakistan, according to news reports. Omar Abdullah, the former chief minister of India’s northern Jammu & Kashmir state, wrote on Twitter that electricity was cut off in the main city of Srinagar. Office workers in New Delhi evacuated buildings.