At least 920 people died in a powerful earthquake in the border region of Afghanistan on Wednesday evening.

Officials said another 1,500 people were injured in the 5.9-magnitude quake. The death toll is expected to rise as rescue teams excavate the collapsed building.

The incident comes as Afghanistan is battling a serious humanitarian catastrophe, exacerbated by the Taliban takeover.

Aid agencies and the United Nations say Afghanistan will need billions of dollars this year to deal with the crisis.

Meanwhile, the death toll continued to rise throughout the day as news of the victims was filtered from hard-to-reach areas in the mountains, and the country’s supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada has warned it may continue to rise.

Sharafuddin Muslim, deputy minister for disaster management, told a news conference in the capital Kabul;

So far we have information that at least 920 people were killed and 600 injured,”

Paktika provincial leader Jakub Manzor told reporters that survivors and rescuers were struggling to help those affected.

“The local market was closed and everyone rushed to the affected areas,” Manzor said.

Senior Taliban official Anas Haqqani said: “The government is working to the best of its ability.

From the Vatican City, Pope Francis prayed for the victims of the recent quake.