Afghanistan Earthquake: The Taliban administration reported on Sunday that a staggering 2,400 individuals lost their lives due to earthquakes in Afghanistan. The Earthquake, which occurred on Saturday in the western part of the country, struck approximately 35 kilometres (20 miles) northwest of Herat city.
Earthquake wipes out several houses
One of the earthquakes registered a magnitude of 6.3, according to data from the US Geological Survey (USGS). These tremors stand out as some of the most deadly earthquakes the world has witnessed this year, following devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria that claimed an estimated 50,000 lives in February.
Janan Sayeeq, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Disasters, stated that the death toll has now climbed to 2,445 individuals, while he has adjusted the number of injured to “more than 2,000.” Initially, he had stated that 9,240 people were injured. Sayeeq also mentioned that 1,320 houses have been either damaged or completely destroyed. This marks a significant increase in the death toll compared to the earlier report of 500 deaths provided by the Red Crescent on Sunday.
Rescue operations still underway
During a press conference, Sayeeq mentioned that there were ten rescue teams operating in the area, which shares its border with Iran. Additionally, a health department official in Herat, known as Dr. Danish, stated that over 200 deceased individuals had been transported to various hospitals. He further noted that a majority of these casualties were women and children. Photographs shared on social media showed makeshift beds set up outside the main hospital in Herat to accommodate the influx of victims.
Suhail Shaheen, who leads the Taliban political office in Qatar, emphasised the urgent requirement for essential supplies such as food, drinking water, medicine, clothing, and tents to support the rescue and relief efforts. Meanwhile, images circulated on social media depicted some damage to the medieval minarets of Herat, revealing visible cracks and dislodged tiles. Afghanistan, nestled amidst mountains, has a historical record of powerful earthquakes, particularly in the rugged Hindu Kush region that borders Pakistan.
Challenges in rescue operation
According to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are a total of 202 public health facilities in Herat province. Among them, the major regional hospital received 500 casualties. The majority of these health facilities are smaller basic health centers. The WHO also noted that logistical challenges, especially in remote areas, were impeding the effectiveness of operations and relief efforts.