US offers aid after quake kills hundreds in Pakistan, Afghanistan

US offers aid after quake kills hundreds in Pakistan, Afghanistan
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The Obama administration is offering to provide assistance to victims of a devastating earthquake that struck Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The U.S. has yet to receive a formal request for aid, State Department spokesman Jeffrey Kirby said Monday, but is “certainly willing to consider any such request should there be one.”


“We stand ready, as always, to provide assistance at this difficult time,” Kirby told reporters in Washington.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest echoed that offer, noting that U.S. officials “stand ready to provide any additional support that may be needed.”

“There is a substantial USAID [U.S. Agency for International Development] presence in both of these countries to try to assist their needs, and there are a number of pre-positioned emergency shelter and relief supply kits in warehouses throughout Afghanistan,” Earnest said. “And in Pakistan, USAID has existing partners who are ready to respond if necessary.

“So we certainly do have some assets that could be helpful, and we stand ready to do what we can to help the governments as they respond to this terrible situation,” he added.

A magnitude-7.5 earthquake rumbled across Pakistan and northeastern Afghanistan earlier in the day, killing more than 260 people and injuring well over 1,000 more, according to the BBC.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the epicenter of the quake was in northeastern Afghanistan, near the borders with Pakistan and Tajikistan. Buildings collapsed and mountains came tumbling down, causing stampedes that helped contribute to the chaos throughout the region.

Most of the damage appeared to occur in Pakistan, with the worst devastation reported in remote mountainous areas of the country. The death toll is only likely to grow in coming days.