More than 300 people have reportedly been killed after an earthquake of 7.5 magnitude struck Afghanistan, with the effects felt hundreds of miles away.
The US Geological Survey put the epicentre south of Feyzabad in northern Afghanistan – but witnesses said the impact was felt as far away as New Delhi, Islamabad and Lahore.
Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said in a tweet that the earthquake was “the strongest one felt in recent decades”.
In the Afghan city of Taloqan, 12 schoolgirls were reportedly killed in a stampede while trying to escape from shaking buildings.
At least 33 people have died in Afghanistan and 228 in Pakistan, according to officials in each country. The Indian-controlled Kashmir region reported two deaths.
Pakistan military spokesman General Asim Bajwa said nearly 1,000 were injured.
The remote location of the epicentre, part of the Hindu Kush near the Tajikistan and Pakistan borders, could be a blessing – though it also means the exact number of casualties may take days to emerge as communications are poor.
People in Pakistan immediately took to Twitter to describe what they experienced.
@CricketRebel said: “Just felt earthquake in #lahore, whole house shook for 10 seconds or more. It was by far the most terrifying quake I have felt. #Pakistan.”
Saad Hamid in Islamabad told Sky News: “[I’m] really concerned about the homes and the families of people in the north.
“Islamabad is clearly in panic as most roads are jammed due to traffic rush to homes after the earthquake.”
Journalist Gul Hammad Farooqi, from the northern Pakistani area of Chitral, said his house had collapsed.
“I was thrown from one side of the road to the other by the strength of the earthquake,” he said. ” I’ve never experienced anything like it.
“There is a great deal of destruction here, and my house has collapsed, but thankfully my children and I escaped.”
The Times of India reported that strong tremors were felt across New Delhi and the national capital region at about 2.45pm local time (9.15am UK time).
Residents in Kashmir, where electricity and phone lines are apparently down, told ANI news that it was “terrifying”.
Sky’s India Producer Neville Lazarus said: “We rushed out of our building and went down for some time. As soon as we did we saw the whole street full of people.
“It was quite a scary sort of a moment because of what happened six months ago in Nepal.
“In 2005, Pakistan experienced something almost on the same parallel as this one. An estimate is that 60,000 people died in that earthquake.”