Rescuers race to reach quake zones in Afghanistan, Pakistan as toll nears 300

October 27, 2015 05:01

KABUL/ISLAMABAD, - Rescuers on Tuesday rushed to deliver relief aid to victims of a massive earthquake that hit northern Afghanistan and Pakistan, killing at least 275 people over a wide swath of mostly mountainous terrain.

Thousands spent the night outdoors in near-freezing temperatures reluctant to go back inside for fear of aftershocks, Pakistani media reported.

"Rescue work is ongoing, and tents, blankets and sleeping mats are being provided," Latif ur Rehman, a Pakistani disaster management official, told Reuters from the northwestern city of Peshawar.

Pakistan's military and civilian authorities dispatched several helicopters to affected areas to assess damage and run rescue operations, the National Disaster Management Authority said. Landslides in mountainous northern Pakistan over the weekend caused by heavy rain and snow had already left thousands of tourists stranded.

The earthquake struck almost exactly six months after Nepal suffered its worst quake on record on April 25. Including the toll from a major aftershock in May, 9,000 people lost their lives there and 900,000 homes were damaged or destroyed.

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