A 6.6-earthquake has struck Afghanistan shaking a number of major cities across south-west Asia.
According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the quake struck close to Afghanistan’s border with Tajikistan at 10:28 GMT.
The tremor was felt in Kabul, Islamabad, Lahore and Delhi, forcing residents to leave their homes.
In October 2015, a magnitude-7.5 quake in the same border area killed close to 300 people.
The latest quake, in the sparsely-populated Hindu Kush mountains, struck at a depth of 210km, the USGS reported. It was the same depth as the 2015 quake.
At least one person died in Pakistan’s Swat region, with another 30 injured, emergency officials said.
There were no reports of significant damage, but a spokesman for Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority said there was a high risk of landslides.
The USGS says the earthquake took place in “one of the most seismically hazardous regions on earth”.
The Hindu Kush mountains sit on the corner of the Indian plate, rather than being at the front line of the continental collision, where the Himalayas are thrust upwards as India disappears beneath Eurasia at a rate of 2ins per year.
It is in this rugged region that the sideways slip between India and Afghanistan meets the head-on impact of the Himalayan fault line. There are many small, interacting faults and forces pushing in different directions.
Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reported on April 9 that the region had been shaken by a series of strong quakes centered on Hindu Kush in recent days.
Afghans and Pakistanis made homeless by this week’s earthquake could die from exposure, aid workers have warned.
There is an urgent need for tents and blankets for those forced to spend a second night outdoors, they said.
Children are especially at risk of succumbing to the extreme cold.
Thousands spent last night in near-freezing temperatures, reluctant to go back inside for fear of aftershocks, Pakistani media reported.
At least 360 people are known to have died in both countries, but officials are warning the number will rise, particularly in Afghanistan.
The UN children’s fund said a combination of intense cold and insecurity were cutting off some communities.
Remote and mountainous quake-affected areas have been hit by heavy rain and snow for the past two days, according to a UNICEF statement.
“Communication is poor and access difficult due to the tough terrain and security operations,” the statement says.
The earthquake’s epicenter was in the Afghan province of Badakhshan, where it damaged many of the province’s scarce roads, officials say.
Providing aid by air will be one of the most effective ways of reaching those in dire need, they say, but such operations are unlikely to start for many days – until survey teams on foot are able to visit the affected areas and report on the damage.
The Pakistani town closest to the epicenter is Chitral, but it also shook buildings in the capital, Islamabad, and in Peshawar.
The tremor lasted for up to 45 seconds early on October 26, creating cracks in walls across a wide region and leading to electricity blackouts.
Officials say more than 1,600 people in Pakistan were injured in the quake, and more than 4,000 homes destroyed.
The worst-hit area was the picturesque Swat Valley and areas around Dir, Malakand and Shangla towns in the mountains of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Though relief is getting through to displaced people, Pakistani media reported that at least 5,000 villagers in the remote Kalash Valley remained homeless and charities could not reach them.
Many people remain trapped under piles of rubble, with officials warning that the death toll was set to rise.
In Afghanistan, the quake destroyed more than 7,600 homes, a statement from President Ashraf Ghani’s office said. He has ordered the military to make themselves available for the relief effort.
Taliban rebels urged Afghans “not to hold back in providing shelter, food and medical supplies'” to quake victims and said their fighters would help the relief effort.
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