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Hundreds Reported Dead in Afghanistan-Pakistan Earthquake

... BBC:

More than 200 people have died, mostly in Pakistan, after a magnitude-7.5 earthquake hit north-eastern Afghanistan.

Tremors from the quake were also felt in northern India and Tajikistan.

At least 12 of the victims were Afghan schoolgirls killed in a crush as they tried to get out of their building.

The earthquake was centred in the mountainous Hindu Kush region, 76km (45 miles) south of Faizabad, the US Geological Survey reported.

The death toll is set to rise as the most severely affected areas are very remote and communications have been cut off.

In Pakistan, authorities said at least 154 people were known to have died in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province alone, and more than 1,000 were injured.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is cutting short a visit abroad and returning home.

Sunnatullah Timour, a spokesman for the governor of the Afghan province of Takhar, told the BBC that as well as the fatalities at the girls' school, another 25 students were injured in the stampede.

Deaths and injuries have also been reported in the Afghan provinces of Nangarhar, Badakhshan and Kunar, with at least 52 killed in total.

Afghanistan's Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah tweeted that the government had asked aid agencies to work with it to help those in need.

However as the earthquake originated more than 200km (125 miles) below the earth's surface, the damage is less than that which a similarly powerful but shallow tremor might cause.

In the city of Karimabad, in Pakistan's Gilgit-Baltistan, a witness who gave his name as Anas told the BBC that the quake had sent a landslide crashing into the Hunza river.

"At first it was as if someone was shaking us. There were about 20 of us and we just held on to each other," he said.

"Right after that we saw a major landslide. Some people say it was a glacier that came down, some people say it was a hill. It fell right in front of our eyes."

Pakistan Geological Survey head Imran Khan told the BBC there were reports of landslides disrupting the Karakoram highway between Gilgit and Baltistan. However, he said it was too early to say if any glaciers were destabilised by the quake.

A picture shows a landslide in Pakistan's northern Hunza valley following an earthquake (26 October 2015)The earthquake triggered a landslide in Pakistan's northern Hunza valley              

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Analysis by Jonathan Webb, BBC News science reporter

Even at its revised magnitude of 7.5, this was a powerful tremor. Around the world only about 20 quakes each year, on average, measure greater than 7.0.

But its focus was deep - much further below the surface than the 7.8 quake which brought widespread destruction to eastern Nepal in April. That event was only 8km deep and was followed in early May by an aftershock with magnitude 7.3.

Similarly, the devastating 2005 Kashmir earthquake was magnitude 7.6 and just 26km deep. Today's quake, at a depth of more than 200km, appears to have caused widespread but less severe ground shaking. 

People stand outside a house damaged by an earthquake in Peshawar, Pakistan (26 Oct. 2015)This home in Peshawar was destroyed by the earthquake                 

  

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