The Badakhshan tremor was felt in Pakistan and India as well Rescue workers in Saidu Sharif, Pakistan unload victims injured in the earthquake, March 21, 2023. © AP Photo/Naveed Ali
An earthquake in northeastern Afghanistan on Tuesday evening was felt all the way to New Delhi, with city residents in some parts of India and Pakistan fleeing their buildings in fear they might collapse. Initially reported as 7.7 in magnitude, the quake was later confirmed to be a 6.5, deep under the Badakhshan province.
The US Geological Survey (USGS) pinpointed the quake’s epicenter as 187 kilometers (116 miles) under the surface, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) south-southeast of Jurm in Afghanistan.
The shaking reportedly went on for at least 30 seconds, and “earthquake” quickly began trending on all social networks.
In Rawalpindi, Pakistan, “people ran out of their houses and were reciting the Koran,” said an AFP correspondent. The tremor was also felt in Islamabad, Peshawar, and Lahore. At least two people died and hundreds were injured in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, along the border with Afghanistan, according to the local media. One of the dead was a 13-year-old girl buried under the wall of her home.
In India, the quake prompted the National Disaster Management Authority to tweet out safety tips, and the New Delhi police to check in on the capital’s residents.
Tuesday evening’s earthquake was stronger than the 5.9 magnitude tremor that struck Afghanistan’s Paktika province last June. That quake was one of the worst in decades, killing more than 1,000 people and displacing tens of thousands.
Last month, a series of powerful earthquakes struck the Turkish-Syrian border region, killing more than 51,000 people in Türkiye alone. The strongest of the quakes was 7.8 in magnitude. Ankara has estimated the damages to exceed $104 billion.