Landslides and aftershocks could add to the damage.
A powerful earthquake struck Afghanistan and northern Pakistan at around 2 p.m. local time today (October 26).
The epicenter was in Afghanistan’s Hindu Kush region, about 256 kilometers (160 miles) northeast of the capital city of Kabul, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which estimated the earthquake’s magnitude at 7.5 on the Richter scale. The quake was felt across the border in Pakistan and parts of northern India. Pakistan officials estimated the earthquake’s magnitude at 8.1.
Although the extent of damage is not yet clear, initial reports have listed at least 135 deaths in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan, including 12 students at a girls’ school in the Afghan province of Takhar, who were crushed in a stampede while fleeing the school building. The death toll is expected to rise as communications are restored to the affected areas.
Landslides have also been reported in parts of Pakistan.
Immediately after the earthquake, buildings were evacuated across cities in Pakistan and northern India.
Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority has warned of aftershocks over the next 24 hours, and the country’s armed forces have already been mobilized.
Evacuated after Earthquake warning pic.twitter.com/tH5rB3MiQS— Imran Ghazali (@ImranGhazaliPK) October 26, 2015
A TV news anchor in Kabul had to leave his desk when the tremors struck:
Just over a decade ago, parts of northern Pakistan and the disputed Kashmir region were hit by a 7.6 magnitude earthquake. That quake, on Oct. 8, 2005, killed an estimated 86,000 people, injured 69,000, and damaged thousands of buildings across the region. That quake was, however, more shallow than the one that struck today: its epicenter was less than 20 miles underground; the epicenter of today’s quake was close to 130 miles (210 km) deep.
This post originally appeared on Quartz, an Atlantic partner site.
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