Big quake in Afghanistan and Pakistan kills at least 135

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Deadly 7.5 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Three Countries

A major earthquake struck the remote Afghan northeast on Monday, killing at least 135 people in Afghanistan and nearby northern Pakistan and sending shock waves as far as New Delhi, officials said.

The death toll could climb because communications were down in much of the rugged Hindu Kush mountain range area where the quake was centered.

Reports of deaths poured in from different areas of both countries.

In one of the worst single incidents, a panicked evacuation at girls' school killed at least 12 students in the Afghan province of Takhar.

"They fell under the feet of other students," said Abdul Razaq Zinda, provincial head of the Afghan National Disaster Management Agency, who reported heavy damage in Takhar.

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Shockwaves were felt in northern India and in Pakistan, where hundreds of people ran out of buildings as the ground rolled beneath them.

"We were very scared ... We saw people leaving buildings, and we were remembering our God," Pakistani journalist Zubair Khan said by telephone from the Swat Valley northwest of the capital, Islamabad.

"I was in my car, and when I stopped my car, the car itself was shaking as if someone was pushing it back and forth."

The quake was 213 km (132 miles) deep and centered 254 km (158 miles) northeast of Kabul in Afghanistan's Badakhshan province.

The U.S. Geological Survey initially measured the quake's intensity at 7.7 then revised it down to 7.5.

Just over a decade ago, a 7.6 magnitude quake in another part of northern Pakistan killed about 75,000 people.

In Afghanistan, a total of 33 were reported dead on Monday. In addition to the 12 schoolgirls in Takhar, seven people died in the eastern province of Nangarhar, two in Nuristan province in the northeast, three in eastern Kunar province and nine in Badakhshan, officials said.

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7.5 magnitude earthquake in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan
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Big quake in Afghanistan and Pakistan kills at least 135
Pakistani relatives and residents carry the coffin of a victim of the earthquake during a funeral ceremony in Peshawar on October 26, 2015. A powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake which rocked parts of South Asia killed 215 people on October 26, including 12 Afghan girls crushed in a stampede as they fled their collapsing school. At least 1,000 more were injured and hundreds of homes destroyed as the quake shook a swathe of the subcontinent, sending thousands of frightened people rushing into the streets in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. AFP PHOTO / HASHAM AHMED (Photo credit should read HASHAM AHMED/AFP/Getty Images)
SRINAGAR, INDIA - OCTOBER 26: A woman cries as she along with others rushed out of buildings following an earthquake on October 26, 2015 in Srinagar, India. A 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck a remote area of North-Eastern Afghanistan in afternoon shaking the capital Kabul and killing 100 people 76 in Pakistan and 24 in Afghanistan. Two elderly women died of cardiac arrest in Kashmir Valley and a youth was killed in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir. (Photo by Waseem Andrabi /Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN - OCTOBER 26: A Pakistani man carries an injured boy in his arms as he takes him to a hospital after an earthquake in Peshawar, Pakistan on October 26, 2015. A powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake killed at least 70 people as it rocked south Asia, including 12 Afghan girls crushed to death in a stampede as they tried to flee their collapsing school. (Photo by Muhammad Asad/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
People rush an injured woman to a local hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. A powerful 7.7-magnitude earthquake in northern Afghanistan rocked cities across South Asia. Strong tremors were felt in Kabul, New Delhi and Islamabad on Monday. In the Pakistani capital, walls swayed back and forth and people poured out of office buildings in a panic, reciting verses from the Quran. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
SRINAGAR - INDIA, OCTOBER 26: Traffic came to a standstill after a powerful earthquake struck northern Afghanistan, with tremors felt as widely as Pakistan and northern India on October 26, 2015 in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian administered Kashmir, India. The magnitude 7.5 quake was centred in the mountainous Hindu Kush region, 45km (28 miles) south-west of Jarm, the US Geological Survey reported. Over 12 people have been reportedly killed in Pakistan while in Afghanistan at least 12 schoolgirls have died in a stampede during the evacuation process. (Photo by Yawar Nazir/ Getty Images)
An Afghan boy looks at a damaged house following an earthquake, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. In Afghanistan's Takhar province, west of Badakhshan, at least 12 students at a girls' school were killed in a stampede as they tried to get out of the shaking buildings, a local official says. Sonatullah Taimor, the spokesman for the Takhar provincial governor, says another 30 girls have been taken to the hospital in the provincial capital of Taluqan. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN - OCTOBER 26: A view at an hospital after an earthquake in Peshawar, Pakistan on October 26, 2015. A powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake killed at least 105 people as it rocked south Asia, including 12 Afghan girls crushed to death in a stampede as they tried to flee their collapsing school. (Photo by A. Ali/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
People stand outside a house damaged from an earthquake in Peshawar, Pakistan, Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. A powerful 7.7-magnitude earthquake in northern Afghanistan rocked cities across South Asia. Strong tremors were felt in Kabul, New Delhi and Islamabad on Monday. In the Pakistani capital, walls swayed back and forth and people poured out of office buildings in a panic, reciting verses from the Quran. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
People stand outside their offices after a severe earthquake is felt in Lahore, Pakistan, Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. A powerful 7.7-magnitude earthquake in northern Afghanistan rocked cities across South Asia. Strong tremors were felt in Kabul, New Delhi and Islamabad on Monday. In the Pakistani capital, walls swayed back and forth and people poured out of office buildings in a panic, reciting verses from the Quran. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)
South Asia was shaken by a 7.5-magnitude earthquake on Monday (9:32 GMT), the epicenter of which was 45 kilometers south-southwest of Jarm, Afghanistan, near the border with Pakistan, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. (Photo by Kemal Delikmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A man injured in an earthquake admits at a local hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. A powerful 7.7-magnitude earthquake in northern Afghanistan rocked cities across South Asia. Strong tremors were felt in Kabul, New Delhi and Islamabad on Monday. In the Pakistani capital, walls swayed back and forth and people poured out of office buildings in a panic, reciting verses from the Quran. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
Stranded drivers wait in their vehicles after an earthquake in Srinagar on October 26, 2015. A powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake killed at least 70 people as it rocked south Asia on October 26, including 12 Afghan girls who were 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. AFP PHOTO/Tauseef MUSTAFA (Photo credit should read TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/Getty Images)
Pakistani residents stand on the rubble of houses after an earthquake in Kohat on October 26, 2015. A powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake killed at least 70 people as it rocked south Asia, 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. AFP PHOTO / BASIT SHAH (Photo credit should read BASIT SHAH/AFP/Getty Images)
People stand near a car damaged from an earthquake in Peshawar, Pakistan, Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. A powerful 7.7-magnitude earthquake in northern Afghanistan rocked cities across South Asia. Strong tremors were felt in Kabul, New Delhi and Islamabad on Monday. In the Pakistani capital, walls swayed back and forth and people poured out of office buildings in a panic, reciting verses from the Quran. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
Afghan men look at the damage inside a warehouse at a market after a powerful earthquake hit Kabul on October 26, 2015. A powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake killed at least 74 people as it rocked parts of south Asia, including 12 Afghan girls crushed in a stampede as they fled their collapsing school. Hundreds more were injured as as the quake shook a swathe of the subcontinent, sending thousands of frightened people rushing into the streets in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. AFP PHOTO / AREF KARIMI (Photo credit should read Aref Karimi/AFP/Getty Images)
Patients who were shifted outdoors at the government medical college hospital after a strong tremor was felt in Jammu, India, Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. A strong earthquake in northern Afghanistan was felt across much of South Asia on Monday, shaking buildings from Kabul to Delhi and cutting power and communications in some areas. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
Patients who were shifted outdoors at the government medical college hospital sit after a strong tremor was felt in Jammu, India, Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. A strong earthquake in northern Afghanistan was felt across much of South Asia on Monday, shaking buildings from Kabul to Delhi and cutting power and communications in some areas. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
People stand outside their offices after a severe earthquake is felt in Lahore, Pakistan, Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. A powerful 7.7-magnitude earthquake in northern Afghanistan rocked cities across South Asia. Strong tremors were felt in Kabul, New Delhi and Islamabad on Monday. In the Pakistani capital, walls swayed back and forth and people poured out of office buildings in a panic, reciting verses from the Quran. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)
RAWALPINDI, PAKISTAN - OCTOBER 26: Debris of buildings and panicked Pakistani residents are seen in the streets following a massive earthquake in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on October 26, 2015. At least 17 killed in Pakistan after 7.5 magnitude quake rocks South Asia. (Photo by Muhammad Reza/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SRINAGAR - INDIA, OCTOBER 26: Traffic came to a standstill after a powerful earthquake struck northern Afghanistan, with tremors felt as widely as Pakistan and northern India on October 26, 2015 in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian administered Kashmir, India. The magnitude 7.5 quake was centred in the mountainous Hindu Kush region, 45km (28 miles) south-west of Jarm, the US Geological Survey reported. Over 12 people have been reportedly killed in Pakistan while in Afghanistan at least 12 schoolgirls have died in a stampede during the evacuation process. (Photo by Yawar Nazir/ Getty Images)
Patients who were shifted outdoors at the government medical college hospital after a strong tremor was felt in Jammu, India, Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. A strong earthquake in northern Afghanistan was felt across much of South Asia on Monday, shaking buildings from Kabul to Delhi and cutting power and communications in some areas. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
Pakistani relatives move a person injured in an earthquake at a hospital in Peshawar on October 26, 2015. At least 17 people including eight children were killed in Pakistan when a 7.5 magnitude quake struck in Afghanistan October 26, officials said. AFP PHOTO / A MAJEED (Photo credit should read A Majeed/AFP/Getty Images)
Patients are brought to a hospital after severe earthquake was felt in Mingora, the main town of Pakistan Swat valley, Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. A powerful 7.7-magnitude earthquake in northern Afghanistan rocked cities across South Asia. Strong tremors were felt in Kabul, New Delhi and Islamabad on Monday. In the Pakistani capital, walls swayed back and forth and people poured out of office buildings in a panic, reciting verses from the Quran. (AP Photo/Naveed Ali)
A girl injured in an earthquake admits to a local hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. A powerful 7.7-magnitude earthquake in northern Afghanistan rocked cities across South Asia. Strong tremors were felt in Kabul, New Delhi and Islamabad on Monday. In the Pakistani capital, walls swayed back and forth and people poured out of office buildings in a panic, reciting verses from the Quran. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
A Pakistani mother waits for treatment with her daughter at a local hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. A powerful 7.7-magnitude earthquake in northern Afghanistan rocked cities across South Asia. Strong tremors were felt in Kabul, New Delhi and Islamabad on Monday. In the Pakistani capital, walls swayed back and forth and people poured out of office buildings in a panic, reciting verses from the Quran. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
Afghan residents examine a damaged house after an earthquake in Raman Kheel village in the Panjshir valley on October 26, 2015. A powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake killed at least 70 people as it rocked south Asia on October 26, including 12 Afghan girls crushed to death in a stampede as they tried to flee their collapsing school. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Afghan women walk towards a damaged house following an earthquake, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. In Afghanistan's Takhar province, west of Badakhshan, at least 12 students at a girls' school were killed in a stampede as they tried to get out of the shaking buildings, a local official says. Sonatullah Taimor, the spokesman for the Takhar provincial governor, says another 30 girls have been taken to the hospital in the provincial capital of Taluqan. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
Shoes of Afghan school girls are seen on the ground after an earthquake hit in Takhar province, northeast of Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. In Afghanistan's Takhar province, west of Badakhshan, at least 12 students at a girls' school were killed in a stampede as they tried to get out of the shaking buildings, a local official says. Sonatullah Taimor, the spokesman for the Takhar provincial governor, says another 30 girls have been taken to the hospital in the provincial capital of Taluqan. (AP Photo/Naim Rahimi)
A man looks at the lifeless body of a man who died from an earthquake outside a local hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. A powerful 7.7-magnitude earthquake in northern Afghanistan rocked cities across South Asia. Strong tremors were felt in Kabul, New Delhi and Islamabad on Monday. In the Pakistani capital, walls swayed back and forth and people poured out of office buildings in a panic, reciting verses from the Quran. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
Pakistani paramedics treat a man injured in an earthquake at a hospital in Peshawar on October 26, 2015. At least 17 people including eight children were killed in Pakistan when a 7.5 magnitude quake struck in Afghanistan October 26, officials said. AFP PHOTO / A MAJEED (Photo credit should read A Majeed/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian office workers stand in an open area in a carpark following an earthquake in New Delhi on October 26, 2015. A strong earthquake lasting almost a minute was felt in New Delhi on October 26, with buildings shaking in the centre of the Indian capital. Tremors were also felt as far away as Islamabad in Pakistan and the Afghan capital Kabul, but not in neighbouring Nepal which was hit by a major quake in April. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH SINGH (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian office workers stand in an open area in a carpark following an earthquake in New Delhi on October 26, 2015. A strong earthquake lasting almost a minute was felt in New Delhi on October 26, with buildings shaking in the centre of the Indian capital. Tremors were also felt as far away as Islamabad in Pakistan and the Afghan capital Kabul, but not in neighbouring Nepal which was hit by a major quake in April. AFP PHOTO / MONEY SHARMA (Photo credit should read MONEY SHARMA/AFP/Getty Images)
Pakistani federal employees gather outside their offices after a 7.5-magnitude earthquake in Islamabad on October 26, 2015. A powerful 7.5 magnitude quake struck Afghanistan's Hindu Kush region on October 26 and was felt throughout much of South Asia, injuring more than 100 people in neighbouring Pakistan according to a doctor. AFP PHOTO / Farooq NAEEM (Photo credit should read FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images)
A patient is brought to a hospital after severe earthquake was felt in Mingora, the main town of Pakistan Swat valley, Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. A powerful 7.7-magnitude earthquake in northern Afghanistan rocked cities across South Asia. Strong tremors were felt in Kabul, New Delhi and Islamabad on Monday. In the Pakistani capital, walls swayed back and forth and people poured out of office buildings in a panic, reciting verses from the Quran. (AP Photo/Naveed Ali)
Indian office workers stand in an open area in a carpark following an earthquake in New Delhi on October 26, 2015. A strong earthquake lasting almost a minute was felt in New Delhi on October 26, with buildings shaking in the centre of the Indian capital. Tremors were also felt as far away as Islamabad in Pakistan and the Afghan capital Kabul, but not in neighbouring Nepal which was hit by a major quake in April. AFP PHOTO / MONEY SHARMA (Photo credit should read MONEY SHARMA/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian office workers stand in an open area in a carpark following an earthquake in New Delhi on October 26, 2015. A strong earthquake lasting almost a minute was felt in New Delhi on October 26, with buildings shaking in the centre of the Indian capital. Tremors were also felt as far away as Islamabad in Pakistan and the Afghan capital Kabul, but not in neighbouring Nepal which was hit by a major quake in April. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH SINGH (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)
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In Pakistan, 102 deaths were reported by early evening, most in northern and northwestern regions bordering Afghanistan, officials told Reuters.

Particularly hard-hit in Pakistan was the northern area of Chitral, where 20 people were killed, police official Shah Jehan said. The death toll was likely to rise because so many areas were cut off from communications, he said.

Journalist Gul Hammad Farooqi, 47, said his house had collapsed. "I was thrown from one side of the road to the other by the strength of the earthquake. I've never experienced anything like it," he said.

"There is a great deal of destruction here, and my house has collapsed, but thankfully my children and I escaped."

Further south, the city of Peshawar reported two deaths but at least 150 injured people were being treated at the city's main hospital, the provincial health chief said.

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In Afghanistan, international aid agencies working in northern areas reported that cell phone coverage in the affected areas remained down in the hours after the initial quake.

"The problem is we just don't know. A lot of the phone lines are still down," said Scott Anderson, deputy head of office for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Kabul.

Badakhshan provincial governor Shah Waliullah Adib said about 400 houses were destroyed but he had no figures on casualties.

"Right now we are collecting information," he said.

The earthquake struck almost exactly six months after Nepal suffered its worst quake on record on April 25. Including the toll from a major aftershock in May, 9,000 people lost their lives and 900,000 homes were damaged or destroyed there.

The Hindu Kush mountain region is seismically active, with earthquakes the result of the Indian subcontinent driving into and under the Eurasian landmass. Sudden tectonic shifts can cause enormous and destructive releases of energy.

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