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Quake Casualties Mount Amid Ongoing Rescue Effort in Afghanistan, Pakistan


Pakistani residents gather next to the rubble of damaged house following an earthquake in Bajaur on October 26.

Rescue operations continue in Afghanistan and Pakistan following a major earthquake that rocked South Asia on October 26.

Officials in the two countries now put the death toll at more than 350, and that figure continues to rise as workers reach the isolated rural areas that were most affected.

Pakistan says 241 people have been killed and 1,600 injured there, while Afghanistan puts its death toll at 115, with hundreds injured.

In Pakistan, officials are struggling to send tents, food, and medical teams to the earthquake zone.

A local official in the Chitral district told AFP that as many as 80,000 people there are without access to drinking water.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif returned to Pakistan from the United States on October 27 and said the government would begin assembling a disaster-relief program.

Funeral services were held for 12 Afghan schoolgirls who died trying to flee their school during the quake.
Funeral services were held for 12 Afghan schoolgirls who died trying to flee their school during the quake.

In Afghanistan, rescue work is further hampered by the volatile security situation in the disaster zone.

The Taliban have issued a statement saying their fighters have been ordered to offer assistance and not to hinder rescue and aid workers.

The 7.5 magnitude earthquake was centered near the Afghan town of Jurm, about 250 kilometers northeast of Kabul.

Based on reporting by AFP, Reuters, and AFP
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