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Deadly Magnitude 6.5 Earthquake Hits Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India

On March 21, 2023, an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.5 hit Badakhshan Province in Afghanistan, at an intermediate depth of about 187 km (116 mi). The epicenter of the earthquake was located 40 km (25 mi) south-southeast of Jurm. According to the United States Geological Survey, the earthquake had a magnitude of Mww 6.5, while the Pakistan Meteorological Department stated it was 6.8. However, the earthquake was initially reported as Mw 7.7, which was later found to be inaccurate. The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre reported that the earthquake shook an area of about 1,000 km (620 mi), affecting around 285 million people in Afghanistan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

The earthquake caused extensive damage in Afghanistan, with at least 10 deaths, 80 injuries, and over 665 houses destroyed across nine provinces. Laghman, Takhar, Panjshir, Badakhshan, Kabul, and Nangarhar provinces were among the most affected areas. In Pakistan, several cities were affected, including Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, and Rawalpindi. Swat, Mardan, Abbottabad, and Manshera were among the most affected districts, with several deaths and injuries reported. In India, the earthquake was felt in several parts of North India, including Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, and the National Capital Region. Some buildings in Delhi were reported to have cracked or tilted.

In other countries, Rudaki District in Tajikistan and Shymkent in Kazakhstan were also affected by the earthquake, with damage to a house and a high-rise building, respectively.