Afghanistan-Pakistan quake: Rescue efforts expanded

Rescue efforts are being stepped up to help those affected by the magnitude-7.5 earthquake which hit remote areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan on Monday.

More than 360 people are known to have died, most of them in Pakistan, and at least 2,000 were injured.

Rescue teams have been sent to remote mountainous areas where the impact of the quake is still unclear.

The Taliban, which controls some areas affected, called on aid agencies “not to hold back” relief supplies.

A spokesman said Taliban fighters had been ordered to help the victims.

In another development, Pakistani officials said at least two glaciers in Pakistan’s Karakoram mountain range had burst and several others had cracked because of the earthquake, raising fears of flash-floods.

Many people across the region, afraid of a new quake, spent the night sleeping outside in temperatures close to freezing.

“We have insufficient food and other aid,” said Abdul Habib Sayed Khil, police chief in Afghanistan’s Kunar province.

“It has been raining for four days and the weather is very cold.”

On Tuesday, the Afghan presidential palace tweeted that the death toll had risen to 115, with 538 people injured. It said that 7,630 homes, 12 schools and 17 mosques were among the buildings destroyed or damaged.

In a televised address, President Ashraf Ghani urged those living in affected areas to help the rescue effort.

The governor of Badakhshan province, Shah Waliullah Adeeb, said survey teams were heading into more remote areas on Tuesday but landslides had blocked roads and helicopters were needed.

Afghan victims included 12 schoolgirls killed in a crush as they tried to leave their classes in Taluqan, Takhar province.