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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 December 2005, 11:02 GMT
Afghanistan hit by strong quake
Hindu Kush mountains, Afghanistan
The Hindu Kush region is sparsely populated
A strong earthquake has hit north-eastern Afghanistan.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) said it was of a 6.7 magnitude, striking in the mountainous Hindu Kush region bordering Pakistan early on Tuesday.

Residents in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, where tens of thousands died in October's earthquake, fled their homes, reports say.

The tremor was also felt as far away as the Indian capital, Delhi. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

'Panic'

The earthquake occurred in the early hours of Tuesday morning about 230km (145 miles) deep in the earth's crust, the USGS said.

The people living in buildings spared by the big quake were the most terrified
Sarfraz Ahmad
Muzaffarabad resident

"The deeper an earthquake is the less likely it is to cause damage. This quake... is not likely to cause too much damage although it is possible," USGS's Don Blakeman told the BBC.

The quake was cantered about 105km (65 miles) south-east of Faizabad in Afghanistan's Badakhshan province.

"Some 100 houses have been damaged and between 300 and 400 cattle have been killed," Shamsur Rahman, deputy governor of the province, told Reuters news agency.

There are also reports of four injuries in the eastern city of Jalalabad where people went out to the streets in panic.

"One house has been destroyed. So far we've received four wounded people - three of them slightly and only one woman was badly injured," Ayoob Shinwari, a doctor in the Afghan city's hospital told the AFP news agency.

"I am hopeful and we pray that there will be few casualties," presidential spokesman, Karim Rahimi, said.

'Scaring'

The tremor was felt in several Pakistan's cities, including Muzaffarabad and Balakot, that were devastated by the 8 October earthquake, local television reported.

"It was very strong. It was very scaring. Many people living in old houses fled from their homes," Mohammad Alim from Pakistan's border town of Peshawar told Reuters news agency.

In Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, survivors of the October quake fled from their tents and homes.

"People came out of their tents and started screaming and reciting verses from the Koran," Sarfraz Ahmad, a resident, told the AFP news agency.

"The people living in buildings spared by the big quake were the most terrified."

The BBC's Barbara Plett in Islamabad says there have been more than 1,000 aftershocks here in the past two months but this was the strongest tremor so far.

More than 73,000 people were killed in the October earthquake which left at least three million people homeless, according to officials in Pakistan.

This area stretching across Pakistan into India and Afghanistan sees a lot of seismic activity - it is at the point where the tectonic plates of Asia and Indian subcontinent collide.


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