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Major earthquake jolts South Asia

By Agencies in Kabul (China Daily) Updated: 2015-10-27 07:41

 Major earthquake jolts South Asia

Afghan residents examine a damaged house after a powerful earthquake hit the Bazarak in Panjshir province on Monday. AFP

A powerful 7.5-magnitude earthquake killed at least 100 people as it rocked South Asia on Monday, including 12 Afghan girls crushed to death in a stampede as they tried to flee their collapsing school.

Thousands of frightened people rushed into the streets in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India as the quake shook a swathe of the subcontinent.

It was centered near Jurm in northeast Afghanistan, 250 km from the capital Kabul and at a depth of 213.5 km, the US Geological Survey said.

The epicenter is just a few hundred km from the site of a 7.6-magnitude quake that struck in October 2005, killing more than 75,000 people and displacing some 3.5 million more, although that quake was much shallower.

The death toll rose rapidly Monday amid reports of buildings reduced to rubble, with Pakistan heavily hit.

Horrifying news emerged of at least 12 schoolgirls being trampled to death in a northern Afghan province.

"The students rushed to escape the school building in Taluqan city (capital of Takhar), triggering a stampede," Takhar education department chief Enayat Naweed said.

"Twelve students, all minors, were killed and 35 others were injured."

Separately, in Nangarhar province bordering Pakistan, six people were killed and 69 injured, said Najeeb Kamawal, head of the local public hospital.

At least 28 people were known to have died in Pakistan's northern tribal areas, 20 in the northwest, three in Gilgit-Baltistan and one in Pakistani Kashmir.

The quake, which lasted at least one minute, shook buildings in Kabul, Islamabad and New Delhi.

At least one aftershock hit shortly afterwards, with the USGS putting its magnitude at 4.8.

In a statistical prediction on its website, the agency said there was a one-third chance of the number of fatalities climbing to between 100 and 1,000 people, with several million dollars' worth of damage likely caused.

AFP - AP

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