A strong earthquake in northern Afghanistan shook buildings from Kabul to Delhi, cut power and communications in some areas and caused more than 150 deaths, mainly in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Pakistani officials that at least 147 people were killed and nearly 600 others wounded across the country, while Afghan officials said 33 people were killed and more than 200 wounded. Those numbers are expected to continue climbing as reports roll in from rural areas.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicenter of the 7.5-magnitude earthquake was in the Hindu Kush mountains in the province of Badakhshan, which borders Pakistan, Tajikistan and China. It said the epicenter was 213 kilometers (130 miles) deep and 73 kilometers (45 miles) south of the provincial capital, Fayzabad.
In Takhar province, west of Badakhshan, at least 12 students at a girls’ school were killed in a stampede as they fled shaking buildings, said Sonatullah Taimor, the spokesman for the provincial governor. Another 42 girls were taken to the hospital in the provincial capital of Taluqan.
He said more than 60 homes in Taluqan were destroyed.
Abdullah Humayoon Dehqan, the provincial director of the Afghan National Disaster Management Authority in Badakhshan, said a child died and more than 60 houses were destroyed in the province.
In northwest Pakistan, rescue official Latifir Rehman said 21 people were killed and 200 wounded across the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Another official, Fiaz Khan, said at least eight people were killed and 70 injured in the Bajur tribal region.
At least five of the dead had been inside their homes when they collapsed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said Mohammad Bilal, a rescue official.
Power was cut across much of the Afghan capital, where tremors were felt for around 45 seconds. Houses shook, walls cracked and cars rolled in the street. Officials in the capital could not be immediately reached as telephones appeared to be cut across the country.
Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah tweeted that the earthquake was the strongest felt in recent decades.
He had earlier called an emergency meeting of disaster officials, which was broadcast live on television. He instructed doctors and hospitals to be prepared to receive and treat casualties.
He said telecommunications have been disrupted in vast parts of the country, preventing officials from getting a concise picture of damage and casualties. He also warned of aftershocks from the earthquake.
In Pakistan, Zahid Rafiq, an official with the meteorological department, said the quake was felt across the country. In the capital, Islamabad, buildings shook and panicked people poured into the streets, many reciting verses from the Quran.
“I was praying when the massive earthquake rattled my home. I came out in a panic,” said Munir Anwar, a resident of Liaquat Pur in Pakistan’s eastern Punjab province.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.