Read this page for our live updates from the first few days of the response to the 7.5-magnitude quake, which struck at 0909 GMT on Monday, 26 October, its epicentre in the far northeastern Badakhshan province of Afghanistan, near the Pakistan border:
AFGHANISTAN: IMPACT BY DISTRICT
1000 GMT: As of Thursday morning, three days after the quake, the toll is at least 390, including 272 in Pakistan, most of them in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, 115 in Afghanistan, and three in Indian-administered Kashmir.
The earthquake also injured several thousand people and damaged or destroyed tens of thousands of buildings. The true extent of the disaster may not be known for weeks as relief teams struggle to access remote parts of the Hindu Kush. Getting aid to survivors will also be hampered by the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan and the onset of winter.
rescue efforts in afghanistan
1840 GMT: Rescue efforts also continue in Afghanistan, with Afghan forces conducting emergency evacuations of people injured during the quake.
IN PAKISTAN, COMMUNICATIONS RESUME AS UN AGENCIES PLEDGE SUPPORT
1825 GMT: Pakistani officials confirm that all telecommunciations networks in earthquake-affected areas have now been restored. With over 40 aftershocks recorded since the quake – some as high as 5.3 on the Richter scale - SMS messages are being sent across Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to warn residents to remain alert.
Satellite images, and information from aerial assessments conducted by the Pakistan Air Force, are being analysed to inform ongoing rescue efforts, while the army and the highway authorities continue to clear landslides caused the earthquake.
Meanwhile, the National Disaster Management Authority met with the heads of various UN agencies, who offered their support in continuing to conduct ground assessments of damages and losses, as well as assistance with long-term recovery and rehabilitation.
So far, the NDMA has distributed 13,000 blankets, 8,750 tents 3,500 plastic mats, 7 tons food packages and 14 tons of bottled water to those affected by the quake.
DAMAGE TO BUILDINGS: PAKISTAN
1115 GMT: As government relief teams and local and international aid workers continue to assess the situation, search for survivors, and provide much-needed assistance, IRIN has received further images of the damage caused to buildings by the quake. These photos show the extensive damage sustained in Aryankoat Village in the Upper Dir District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, one of the Pakistani provinces most affected by the earthquake. Many survivors in both Pakistan and Afghanistan are reluctant to return to buildings that are still standing, for fear of aftershocks. Photos: K. Pervez/IRIN.
RELIEF EFFORT IN PAKISTAN
1020 GMT: Relief teams are rushing to get as much help as possible to survivors left to camp out at night in mountainous regions in near-freezing conditions. Pakistan's emergency management authority released the following table of what has been sent where so far:
Pakistani officials also raised their toll slightly to 267, with at least 220 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province alone. This takes the overall toll to at least 385, with 115 confirmed fatalities in Afghanistan and three in Indian-administered Kashmir.
SCHOOLGIRLS LAID TO REST
1930 GMT: Mourners attended the funeral on Tuesday of 12 Afghan schoolgirls killed when the earthquake caused their high school in Takhar Province to collapse.
1810 GMT: Janu Rao, Country Director of Concern Worldwide’s Afghanistan programmes, told IRIN that the organisation is also monitoring the situation closely, working with local and international partners including the Afghan government’s Provincial Management Disaster Committee. Other organisations involved in such assessments include UNOCHA, the Agha Khan Foundation, and Acted.
In view of previous weaknesses in coordination of assistance, inter-agency collaboration is being prioritised so that information can be collected, damage can be assessed and the humanitarian response requirements can be most effectively identified.
While information gleaned from ongoing assessments are changing constantly, Concern provided the following information on how the earthquake had affected people in Badakhshan and Takhar provinces. Rao said that these figures are likely to drop once the situation has been clarified from additional information expected from further assessments planned for Wednesday.
19 out of 28 districts are affected; 2,700 homes or shelters have been either partially or completely damaged; 15 people have been killed; 62 people have been injured.
8 out of 17 districts have been affected; 451 homes or shelters have been damaged (out of which 100 have been completely destroyed); 13 people have been killed (12 children and 1 woman); 35 people have been injured.
Confirming the fears of Christian Aid, Rao said that the onset of winter is likely to make Concern’s relief efforts more difficult. “With temperatures having fallen to below freezing in the past five days, resources – such as tents - that would normally be deployed are no longer suitable in meeting the needs of vulnerable people affected by the quake,” Rao said. However, winter weather conditions also mean that the construction or re-construction of more permanent shelters is also no longer a viable option. Rao said that Concern would be exploring alternative options to ensuring that poor families affected by the quake have warm accommodation, though this will remain a significant challenge. In the meantime, the organisation will be providing priority items such as warm clothing, blankets, and heating.
1700 GMT: Madara Hettiarachchi, Head of Humanitarian Programmes for Asia and the Middle East at Christian Aid, told IRIN that they are continuing to conduct assessments in coordination with other international and local organisations to identify the needs of people affected by the earthquake in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Accessing and coordinating funding, procuring necessary materials and ensuring road access to remote areas are likely to be the biggest challenges to delivery of aid, though the organisation will be accessing internal emergency funds so that it can start delivering aid to address immediate needs. Initial provisions will include basic life support including food, water, shelter, blankets, floor mats and basic hygiene products. The onset of winter is also likely to affect the provision of aid.
Hettiarachichi said that access to vulnerable families could also be hampered due to security concerns since earthquake and conflict-affected areas overlap. She said, “we are still closely monitoring the situation so it is hard to say whether this will be a problem. There may be potential difficulties but we are hoping to get humanitarian access through our partners.”
PAKISTAN QUAKE: NEW BUILDING CODES LARGELY UNENFORCED
1630 GMT: Pakistan added detailed seismic provisions to its national building code in 2007, two years after an earthquake in the disputed Kashmir region killed more than 80,000 people and destroyed countless constructions. They have gone largely unenforced, compounding the destruction from Monday’s 7.5-magnitude quake.
See the full report.
Assessing full impact 'will take days'
1550 GMT: In an interview with Deutsche Welle, Afghanistan Head of office for OCHA, Dominic Parker, confirmed that it will take days to assess the full impact of the earthquake.
Since the affected areas are mainly in remote, rural regions with low population densities, the impact of the earthquake may be less significant than suggested by its actual geographical size. However, poor communications and the remoteness of the area are hampering relief efforts and slowing assessments, leaving the true extent of the damage unclear. Meanwhile, UNICEF said that some areas hit by the quake are “completely inaccessible” and that “much of the rest of the affected region is difficult to reach even in ordinary circumstances” due to poor roads and infrastructure.
Afghan provincial, district and local government assessment teams are continuing to collect information on damage and loss of life. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Public Works and Ministry of Defence are clearing landslides to restore access to road networks and facilitate the delivery of aid.
TOLL PASSES 350
1455 GMT: The latest toll from the Pakistani authorities raises deaths there from 228 to 248, with more than 1,600 injuries. This now means the overall toll is at least 366, including 115 confirmed fatalities in Afghanistan and three in Indian-administered Kashmir.
Data reveals that 90 percent of damaged houses and more than 80 percent of fatalities in Pakistan occurred in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
SHARP RISE IN AFGHAN TOLL
1350 GMT: The Afghan government raises its death toll from 33 to 115 and says more than 500 people have been injured and more than 7,600 homes destroyed. This takes the overall toll to at least 346, with 228 confirmed fatalities in Pakistan and another three reported in Indian-administered Kashmir.
‘QUAKE IMPACT ONLY JUST BEING REALISED’
1300 GMT: The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says it is responding “as thousands of vulnerable local residents prepare to spend a second night sleeping outside in near freezing temperatures.”
The IOM statement says significant damage has also been reported in Kunar, Nuristan, Laghman, Takhar, Baghlan and Nangarhar provinces but confirms that areas of Badakhshan province near the epicentre are the worst-affected. The IOM office in the provincial capital Faizabad has been damaged but its staff are safe.
“Badakhshan is a remote, mountainous province, where access is often a challenge,” says IOM Humanitarian Assistance Program Manager Gul Mohammed Ahmadi. “It may take some time before a full picture of the damage emerges.”
In Pakistan, IOM says the government has already requested winterised NFI (non-food item) kits for 500 families in Bajaur and Mohmand agencies, and field teams are travelling to further assess needs in that area.
Separately, Pakistan’s National Highway Authority has reported that after mobilising heavy machinery last night, snow has been cleared and roads have been reopened to facilitate aid efforts in Naran town, Manshera district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
NDMA has released this interactive map illustrating the exact districts affected by the earthquake:
TALIBAN TELLS FIGHTERS TO HELP QUAKE VICTIMS
1205 GMT: In a statement on its website, the Taliban offers condolences to the victims and urges its fighters to help out in the relief effort.
“The Islamic Emirate calls on our good willed countrymen and charitable organisations to not hold back in providing shelter, food and medical supplies to the victims of this earthquake. And it similarly orders its Mujahideen in the affected areas to lend their complete help to the victims and facilitate those giving charity to the needy.”
PAKISTANI PM TOURS DISASTER ZONE, PROMISES AID
1145 GMT: Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, where at least 184 people are confirmed to have been killed. Speaking in the affected district of Shangla, he said a relief package would be announced once a damage assessment had been conducted. “No stone will be left unturned for relief and rehabilitation of people of Shangla,” he said, according to Pakistan’s SAMAA TV.
MORE CASUALTIES IN AFGHANISTAN
0950 GMT: Shah Waliullah Adeeb, the governor of Badakhshan, tells IRIN that 2,744 homes have been damaged or destroyed in the province, as well as 12 mosques. Roads to four districts are blocked after huge landslides. "We need helicopters to look from the air to see what is the extent of the damage."
0945 GMT: Kamil Mohammad, a resident of Jurm, the district in Afghanistan's Badakhshan province that was at the epicentre, tells IRIN that several bodies have been recovered this morning, including that of a small girl.
toll rises above 260
0900 GMT: 24 hours after a 7-5-magnitude earthquake hit northern Afghanistan and Pakistan, the toll has risen sharply. A new statement by the National Disaster Management Authority says at least 228 have been killed in Pakistan and 1,620 injured. With 33 people killed in Afghanistan and three in Indian-administered Kashmir, this takes the overall toll to at least 264.
ROUNDUP: Scores of deaths and hundreds of injuries
1840 GMT: As darkness puts rescue efforts on hold in the mountainous Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan and Pakistan, with roads destroyed and helicopters unable to fly at night, here is what we know so far:
The earthquake struck at 1:39pm local time (0909 GMT), its epicentre high in the mountains of northeastern Afghanistan, near the Pakistan border. By nightfall, at least 130 fatalities had been confirmed. This included 94 in Pakistan, 33 in Afghanistan and three in Indian-administered Kashmir. Casualties are almost sure to rise in the coming days once rescue teams are able to reach areas where roads and communications have been knocked out.
See our final roundup of today’s events and check this page again from 0900 GMT for more updates.
Damages & Losses
1832 GMT: According to UN sources, landslides have occurred in Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan, hindering access for field teams doing damage assessment.
1825 GMT: Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah issued the following statement in a series of tweets:
"There are reports of heavy casualties caused by the quake but exact numbers are yet to be released by relevant government entities. To avoid further damages and casualties, we have asked people to stay outdoors as there is still fear of aftershocks. Some mobile networks are down and we are still figuring out… our contacts with the provinces we couldn't contact so far."
1820 GMT: Pakistan NDMA Officials are instructing people to stay alert in anticipation of expected aftershocks over the next 24 hours.
1701 GMT: Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) releases a table of initial figures on deaths and injuries and damage to property, broken down by province.
EIGHT FAMILY MEMBERS KILLED
1620 GMT: Khan Mohammad Khan, a local resident in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province, tells IRIN that a rooftop collapsed on 18 members of the same family in the district of Sawkay, leaving eight dead and the other 10 with serious injuries.
This means at least 33 people have been killed in Afghanistan and takes the overall toll, including 94 in Pakistan and three in Indian-administered Kashmir, to at least 130.
TOll rises to at least 120
1520 GMT: A statement from the National Disaster Management Authority says 94 people have been killed in Pakistan and more than 200 injured. This brings the overall toll to at least 120 with another 25 people confirmed dead in Afghanistan, including 12 students in a school in Takhar Province. One elderly woman has also been reported killed in Indian-administered Kashmir, after suffering a heart-attack.
1450 GMT: Google launches a Person Finder to help track missing persons in the earthquake.
Facebook's Safety Check feature is available for users located near the disaster to confirm if they are safe.
'Citizen aid' - Online crowdfunding communities are being set up to bring together international and local aid and relief organisations and link them with the public in order to get more donations and support.
PRIME MINISTER RETURNS
1434 GMT: UN confirms it is preparing emergency supplies ready to deploy in Pakistan if government support in dealing with the disaster is requested.
1405 GMT: IRIN has received its first images of damage caused by the earthquake. These were taken by eyewitness Waqas Mahmood in Islamabad, some two hundred and seventy kilometres from the epicentre, which was high in the mountains of the Hindu Kush in neighbouring Afghanistan.
TOLL RISES IN AFGHANISTAN
1307 GMT: Thirteen people have been killed and 23 injured in Afghanistan's Badakhshan Province, deputy governor Gul Mohammad Bedar tells IRIN. In addition to 11 students killed in Takhar Province (see below) that is 24 deaths confirmed so far in Afghanistan) Bedar says at least 1,400 homes have been destroyed or damaged in Badakhshan. "But the death toll and destruction could be much higher," he warns. "We don't know the exact number of casualties... We have reports of mountainslides and landslides. Communication lines are cut... Tomorrow morning, emergency aid will be sent to the area."
Casualties IN PAKISTAN
1221 GMT: Reports of casualties and damage are coming in from across the Pakistan side of the border.
Latif Khan, spokesman for the Disaster Management Authority in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, tells IRIN: "The casualties are rising. We have 38 dead and 400 injured in the province so far... Hospitals in smaller areas will quickly be overwhelmed."
Tariq Hayat Khan, an official with Pakistan’s ministry for frontier regions, says:
- Reports of 33 deaths nationwide. In Peshawar, 88 people are in hospital. They are still awaiting reports from Chitral district, close to the epicentre
- Affected areas in Pakistan include Chitral, Swat, Shangla districts (all in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province) and Bajaur Agency
- Army helicopters have flown north to evaluate the damage
- Army and disaster management units with emergency response teams and equipment are being deployed to the affected areas near the epicentre. Having learnt lessons from Pakistan’s 2005 earthquake, they are much better prepared and had stocks ready to deploy immediately should an earthquake occur
- Communications networks have been badly affected, so they are still awaiting details of the extent of the humanitarian and infrastructure damage
- Access to affected areas is a major problem because there have been several landslides, including on the main road in and out of Gilgit (a major city in the region) and these blockages will obviously hamper response efforts. Response teams have bulldozers and will be working to clear the roads
'EVERYONE WAS RECITING THE QURAN'
1145 GMT: Pakistan's government has asked relevant agencies to work at full capacity and to call in staff on leave, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid tells IRIN. "Any looters will be penalised as strongly as possible."
1132 GMT: At least 15 homes destroyed in Deh Bala village, Parwan Province, say police in Afghanistan.
1029 GMT: Afghanistan high school collapsed in Saray Sang, Takhar Province, according to officials.
1027 GMT: Pakistan civilian and military authorities put on alert by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Army Chief Raheel Sharif to aid in earthquake relief.
What can we expect in the aftermath of the Afghanistan-Pakistan earthquake? See our analysis on the challenge of urban disasters.
Last year IRIN did a story looking at Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), set up shortly after the 2005 Kashmir quake that killed at least 87,000 people.
See: How effective is Pakistan’s disaster authority?