Afghanistan Earthquake: 2060 people have died as a result of powerful earthquakes that struck western Afghanistan, a Taliban government spokesperson reported on Sunday. One of the deadliest earthquakes to hit the nation in the past 20 years.
Devastating Earthquake Strikes Western Afghanistan
Numerous people were murdered in western Afghanistan on Saturday as a result of a violent magnitude-6.3 earthquake and its subsequent aftershocks, according to the nation’s national disaster administration. The Ministry of Information and Culture’s spokesman, Abdul Wahid Rayan, however, claimed that more people have died as a result of the Herat earthquake than had been initially estimated. He added while pleading for immediate assistance that hundreds of civilians had been buried in the debris and that about six villages had been destroyed.
Conflicting Reports on Earthquake Death Toll in Western Afghanistan
Late on Saturday, the United Nations provided a preliminary death toll of 320, but later clarified that the number was still being verified. According to the same report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, estimates from local authorities put the death toll at 100 and the number of injuries at 500. According to the update, 465 reported home losses and 135 reported home damages included.
Anticipated Rise in Casualties as Search and Rescue Continues in Herat Earthquake
“Partners and local authorities anticipate the number of casualties to increase as search and rescue efforts continue amid reports that some people may be trapped under collapsed buildings,” the UN said. Four villages in the Zenda Jan district of Herat province, according to disaster authority spokeswoman Mohammad Abdullah Jan, took the brunt of the initial earthquake and its aftershocks.
Earthquake Epicenter Near Herat City: US Geological Survey Reports
The epicentre of the earthquake, according to the United States Geological Survey, was located around 40 kilometres (25 miles) northwest of Herat city. Three extremely powerful aftershocks with magnitudes of 6.3, 5.9, and 5.5 were immediately followed by smaller shocks. Around noon, at least five powerful tremors were felt in the city, according to Abdul Shakor Samadi, a local of Herat.
Residents Flee Homes in Fear of More Earthquakes
“All people are out of their homes,” Samadi said. “Houses, offices and shops are all empty and there are fears of more earthquakes. My family and I were inside our home, I felt the quake.” His family started shouting and fled outside for safety. According to the World Health Organisation in Afghanistan, 12 ambulances were sent to Zenda Jan to transport injured people to medical facilities. “As deaths & casualties from the earthquake continue to be reported, teams are in hospitals assisting treatment of wounded & assessing additional needs,” the U.N. agency said on X, formerly known as Twitter. “WHO-supported ambulances are transporting those affected, most of them women and children.”
Phone Lines Fail as Herat Quake Shakes Region
In Herat, telephone lines failed, making it challenging to obtain information from the impacted districts. Hundreds of people were seen on the streets of Herat city in videos posted on social media. Iran is bordered by Herat province. According to local media sources, the tremor was also felt in the neighbouring Afghan regions of Farah and Badghis.
Taliban’s Abdul Ghani Baradar Offers Condolences and Urges Aid for Earthquake-Hit Herat
The deputy prime minister for economic matters designated by the Taliban, Abdul Ghani Baradar, sent his condolences to the families of the victims and injured in Herat and Badghis. The Taliban asked neighbourhood organisations to get to earthquake-stricken regions as soon as possible to assist in getting the injured to hospitals, giving homeless people shelter, and bringing food to survivors. They advised security organisations to make use of all their equipment and resources to free anyone stuck beneath rubble.
Taliban Appeals for Aid and Support as Death Toll Rises in Herat Earthquake
“We ask our wealthy compatriots to give any possible cooperation and help to our afflicted brothers,” the Taliban said on X. On the social media site X, Takashi Okada, the ambassador of Japan to Afghanistan, expressed his condolences, writing that he was “deeply grieved and saddened to learn the news of earthquake in Herat province.” A strong earthquake that rocked a rough, mountainous area of eastern Afghanistan in June 2022 destroyed dwellings made of mud and stone. At least 1,000 people were killed and about 1,500 were hurt by the earthquake.