NEARLY 280 people have been killed after a 7.5 magnitude earthquake rocked Afghanistan and much of South Asia.
The powerful tremor was centered in the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan before ripping across nearby countries, toppling buildings, triggering stampedes and knocking out communication lines.
The full scale of Monday’s disaster remains unclear with rescue efforts still underway across much of Pakistan and Afghanistan’s rugged terrain.
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In the most horrifying tragedy to emerge so far from the quake, 12 young Afghan girls were crushed to death in a stampede as they tried to flee their shaking school building.
The bulk of the casualties were reported from Pakistan, where 214 people were killed and more than 1800 injured.
Many people were trapped under piles of rubble, with officials warning that the toll was set to rise.
Afghan officials said at least 63 people were confirmed dead and hundreds more injured, with casualties reported from around half a dozen of the country’s 34 provinces.
The government has implored aid agencies for relief.
The quake was centred near Jurm in northeast Afghanistan, 250 kilometres from the capital Kabul and at a depth of 213.5 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said.