Kabul, Afghanistan (BBN)-The death toll from the earthquake that shook parts of South Asia has risen above 360.
Aid workers have warned that some Afghans and Pakistanis made homeless by Monday’s earthquake could die from exposure, reports BBC.
At least 360 people are known to have died in both countries, but officials are warning the number will rise, particularly in Afghanistan.
There is an urgent need for tents and blankets for those forced to spend a second night outdoors, they said.
Children are especially at risk of succumbing to the extreme cold.
Thousands spent Tuesday night in near-freezing temperatures, reluctant to go back inside for fear of aftershocks, Pakistani media reported.
The UN children’s fund said a combination of intense cold and insecurity were cutting off some communities.
Remote and mountainous quake-affected areas have been hit by heavy rain and snow for the past two days, according to a Unicef statement.
“Communication is poor and access difficult due to the tough terrain and security operations,” the statement says.
Unicef’s regional director for South Asia, Karin Hulshof, said concern was mounting for the safety and wellbeing of children.
“They are in danger of succumbing to the elements as temperatures plummet,” she said.
The epicentre of the earthquake was in the Afghan province of Badakhshan, where it damaged many of the province’s scarce roads, officials say.
Providing aid by air will be one of the most effective ways of reaching those in dire need, they say, but such operations are unlikely to start for many days – until survey teams on foot are able to visit the affected areas and report on the damage.
The Pakistani town closest to the epicentre is Chitral, but it also shook buildings in the capital, Islamabad, and in Peshawar.
The quake lasted for up to 45 seconds early on Monday afternoon, creating cracks in walls across a wide region and leading to electricity blackouts.
Officials say more than 1,600 people in Pakistan were injured in Monday’s quake, and more than 4,000 homes destroyed.
The worst-hit area was the picturesque Swat Valley and areas around Dir, Malakand and Shangla towns in the mountains of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Though relief is getting through to displaced people, Pakistani media reported that at least 5,000 villagers in the remote Kalash Valley remained homeless and charities could not reach them.
Many people remain trapped under piles of rubble, Dawn reported, with officials warning that the death toll was set to rise.
In Afghanistan, the quake destroyed more than 7,600 homes, a statement from President Ashraf Ghani’s office said. He has ordered the military to make themselves available for the relief effort.
Pictures from Ghazni, south-west of Kabul, showed damage to buildings. Photo: BBC
Taliban rebels urged Afghans “not to hold back in providing shelter, food and medical supplies'” to quake victims and said their fighters would help the relief effort.
In 2005, a magnitude-7.6 quake in Pakistan-administered Kashmir left more than 75,000 people dead.
In April this year, Nepal suffered its worst earthquake on record, with 9,000 people killed and about 900,000 homes damaged or destroyed.
KABUL: ‘IT WAS REALLY BAD’
“It was really bad,” said Masoud Popalzai, CNN’s producer in Kabul. “In 30 years of my life, it was the worst I experienced myself.”
Everyone ran out into the streets. The walls of his compound shook so hard, they looked like they might fall over.
“In the bathroom everything swayed,” he said. “Things fell to the ground in the office’s kitchen.”
But he has seen no signs of damage in Kabul, even after driving a few miles around the city.
Some 60 miles southwest of Kabul, in the town of Ghazni, there were reports that the historic gate had collapsed, accompanied by photos on social media.
In Islamabad, Pakistan, CNN correspondent Sophia Saifi was standing in the kitchen when her microwave fell. She ran out of her building as it began to shake.
Minutes later, as she stood outside, the ground was still trembling.
“We can feel tremors at sporadic intervals,” she said. But people were calm, trying to make cell phone calls, while children played in the streets around them. There was no damage Saifi could see.
In Quetta, near the border with Afghanistan, there were no reports of casualties, Saifi said, but there were “structural damages.”
Pakistan’s military has been activated without waiting for formal orders, a military spokesman said in a tweet.
Northern Pakistan has seen recent heavy rains, and there are fears the quake may have triggered landslides.
In the Hunza Valley in that region, the quake reportedly shook loose a landslide at a mountain glacier.
NEW DEHLI, INDIA, RUMBLES
Hundreds of miles away in CNN’s bureau in New Delhi, India, bureau chief Ravi Agrawal felt tremors.
“We could feel a fair bit of shaking,” he said. “We could see tables shaking a little bit; the TVs on the wall were shaking a little bit.”
“The last earthquake that brought shakes as bad as that was the Nepal earthquake,” Agrawal said.
India’s government expressed willingness to help out.
“I have asked for an urgent assessment and we stand ready for assistance where required, including Afghanistan & Pakistan,” Indian President Narendra Modi said in a tweet.
QUAKE FELT IN KYRGYZSTAN
The earthquake was felt all the way up in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan.
Kyrgyz political activist Edil Baisalov told CNN that the shaking was “not unusual for us but quite long tremors. As far as I know no damage in Kyrgyzstan.”
CNN’s Elizabeth Joseph, Ivan Watson, Sophia Saifi, Masoud Popalzai and Brian Walker contributed to this report.