As of October 17, 2023 Afghanistan has been hit by four hurricanes in the same week. On Sunday, barely three days after the previous one, it was hit by a fatal 6.3 magnitude earthquake. The initial quake on October 7th flattened entire villages, and devastated families in the province of Herat. Afghanistan experienced another earthquake, mostly aftershocks, that same day, with two more on October 11th and 15th.
According to the United States Geological Survey, the newest earthquake's epicenter was five miles below the surface and 20 miles from Herat, the country's capital. Earthquakes are common in Afghanistan due to several fault lines and frequent movement along nearby tectonic plates (gigantic pieces of the Earth's crust and uppermost mantle). Afghanistan lies on the Alpine Himalayan belt, a region that runs along two tectonic plates: the Indian Plate in the South and Eurasian Plate in the North. However, Afghanistan has never experienced such an earthquake before.
According to Save the Children and the United Nations, more than 2,000 individuals have lost their lives due to the earthquakes, with an unknown number of people injured. Tragically, more than 90% of the people killed a week ago were women and children. This is partly because many men were sent to work, while mothers stayed home to care for their babies. Aid groups are calling all individuals to assist in searching through the rubble and donating blood to hospital to save as many lives as possible
Numerous livelihoods have also been destroyed in addition to the destruction of villages. Workplaces, schools, health clinics, places of worship, and other village facilities have been wiped out. Although the majority of these buildings were initially built with mud-brick, which is unsuited to resist an earthquake of this size, they will need to be rebuilt and then completely replaced with new materials, assuming that these materials are even available.
Unfortunately, entire towns and family lineages have been wiped out due to these earthquakes. Survivors are struggling to deal with the tragedies as well as take care of their homeland. While survivors are resilient and doing their best to assist wherever they can, everyone else around the world is also encouraged to contribute by donating.
Edited by: Sally (Anh) Ngo October 17, 2023
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