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More than 2,400 deaths in Afghanistan earthquake

More than 2,400 deaths and thousands of injuries have been reported in Afghanistan following a 6.3-magnitude earthquake that struck the western part of the country last Saturday morning.

The earthquake occurred 35 km (20 miles) northwest of the city of Herat, near the border with Iran, and it destroyed and damaged 1,320 houses, as announced by Janan Sayeeq, spokesman for the Ministry of Disasters.

In Herat province, there are 202 public health facilities, including one major regional hospital and numerous smaller basic health centres, according to the WHO.

“Some of the injured people are currently housed in a hotel and two schools, which are also accommodating those who have lost their homes and loved ones,” said Noor Ahmad Islamjar, Herat’s governor, as reported by The Guardian. “Local people helped the affected people very much.”

“We have reached out to some Islamic countries for assistance, and so far, only Turkey has promised to provide us with a plane filled with medicine and tents. Iran has also expressed its readiness to assist us,” he added. “With winter approaching, the affected areas will soon experience extremely cold conditions. Many families not only have lost their homes but also their main breadwinners. They are in urgent need of immediate aid and suitable shelters,” he concluded.

Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan's government in August 2021, it has become increasingly difficult for the country to receive international aid. Assistance from the international community has historically played a crucial role in sustaining Afghanistan's economy and healthcare, but it has been withdrawn since the Taliban's takeover.

The Taliban's restrictions on women and other humanitarian crises affecting the world in recent times have reduced financial support from donors. Additionally, the Taliban government has ordered most Afghan women not to work, with exceptions for health and education, but this setback is challenging for a country that needs all the help it can get.

Search and rescue operations are still ongoing, especially in remote parts of the country that are difficult to reach, and there, the deceased individuals have not been fully identified.

Afghanistan is an area prone to earthquakes, as it is located at the junction of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates, which periodically shift, leading to devastating natural events, especially in the Hindu Kush region bordering Pakistan.

In June 2022, Afghanistan was hit by a 5.9 magnitude earthquake, resulting in the death of more than 1,000 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless.

In October 2015, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the northern part of the country, at the border with Pakistan, causing the deaths of 360 people in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and leaving thousands injured.


Cover image: Mohsen Karimi/AFP/Getty Images


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