A 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck eastern Afghanistan overnight Tuesday into Wednesday, killing at least 1,000 and injuring 1,500 more.
Photos show crumbling homes and rubble in streets after the earthquake hit while locals slept, with the government advising that the death toll would likely rise. According to disaster management chief Maulawi Sharafuddin Muslim, entire villages have been destroyed.
An earthquake’s devastation and death toll come down to geography, building quality and population density, Robert Sanders told the Associated Press, adding that in most places a 5.9-magnitude earthquake might not cause as much damage.
“Because of the mountainous area, there are rockslides and landslides that we won’t know about until later reporting. Older buildings are likely to crumble and fail,” said Sanders. “Due to how condensed the area is in that part of the world, we’ve seen in the past similar earthquakes deal significant damage.”
The earthquake struck around 1:24 a.m. local time about 30 miles southwest of Khost, Afghanistan. Khost and Paktika were the hardest-hit areas.
The Taliban government was still searching for survivors and evacuating the injured via helicopter on Wednesday in Paktika.
Many international aid agencies departed the country after the Taliban takeover last year, which could complicate aid efforts. Due to those difficulties, a Taliban official said the government would welcome outside help, and the UN has already promised support.
Click through the slideshow above to see images of the earthquake’s destruction.
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