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Tragedy Strikes Western Afghanistan as Death Toll Rises to Over 2,000 in Deadly Earthquake

October 8, 2023

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a devastating turn of events, western Afghanistan has been hit by a series of powerful earthquakes, claiming the lives of over 2,000 people. The Taliban government spokesperson announced this grim news, marking it as one of the deadliest earthquakes in the country in the past two decades.

The catastrophe began with a massive magnitude-6.3 earthquake followed by several strong aftershocks that struck western Afghanistan on Saturday, leaving dozens of casualties in their wake, according to the country’s national disaster authority.

However, Abdul Wahid Rayan, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Information and Culture, revealed that the initial death toll in Herat was significantly underestimated. Approximately six villages have been obliterated, and hundreds of civilians are trapped beneath the debris. Urgent help is desperately needed in the region.

Initial reports from the United Nations indicated 320 deaths, but this number is still being verified. Local authorities suggested around 100 people dead and 500 injured, as stated by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Additionally, 465 houses have been reported destroyed, and 135 more are damaged.

The U.N. emphasized that the number of casualties is expected to rise as search and rescue efforts continue, with fears that some individuals might be trapped beneath collapsed buildings.

The epicenter of the earthquake was located approximately 40 kilometers (25 miles) northwest of Herat city, and it was followed by three more powerful aftershocks. Residents of Herat city were shaken by at least five strong tremors, causing widespread panic and evacuations from homes, offices, and shops.

The World Health Organization in Afghanistan has dispatched 12 ambulance cars to Zenda Jan, where casualties are being evacuated to hospitals. Most of those affected are women and children.

Due to the quake, telephone connections in Herat have been disrupted, making it challenging to gather information from the affected areas. Videos circulating on social media depict hundreds of people taking to the streets in Herat city.

Herat province shares a border with Iran, and the quake’s impact extended to nearby Afghan provinces, including Farah and Badghis.

Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban-appointed deputy prime minister for economic affairs, expressed condolences to the victims in Herat and Badghis. The Taliban has called upon local organizations to swiftly aid earthquake-hit areas by transporting the injured to hospitals, providing shelter for the homeless, and delivering food to survivors. They have also urged security agencies to use all available resources to rescue those trapped under debris.

Japan’s ambassador to Afghanistan, Takashi Okada, conveyed his condolences via social media, expressing deep sorrow over the earthquake in Herat province.

This catastrophe recalls the powerful earthquake that struck eastern Afghanistan in June 2022, which claimed the lives of at least 1,000 people and injured around 1,500, flattening stone and mud-brick homes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Credit: AP

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