In a tragic turn of events, a powerful earthquake has rocked western Afghanistan, leaving behind a staggering death toll. According to a senior Taliban official, the earthquake’s aftermath has claimed the lives of approximately 2,000 individuals, marking it as one of the deadliest seismic events to strike the nation in the past two decades.
This catastrophic earthquake, boasting a formidable magnitude of 6.3, mercilessly struck the Herat province, causing widespread devastation and entombing countless people beneath the rubble.
Suhail Shaheen, the Taliban’s spokesperson stationed in Qatar, has sounded the alarm for immediate assistance in the affected areas. He has issued a fervent appeal to local entrepreneurs and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to provide essential supplies, including tents, medical provisions, and sustenance, to alleviate the suffering of those in dire need.
The situation remains dire, with numerous individuals unaccounted for and ongoing rescue operations diligently working to locate and extricate survivors.
Abdul Wahid Rayan, a spokesperson at the Ministry of Information and Culture, has provided further insights into the catastrophic aftermath of the earthquake. He has confirmed that the death toll has surged past 2,000 individuals, and the situation has been compounded by the relentless onslaught of powerful aftershocks. Numerous villages lie in ruins, with scores of civilians still trapped beneath the debris. Urgent and unwavering support is the need of the hour.
Initially, Afghanistan’s official national disaster authority reported an estimated 100 casualties in the wake of the earthquake. However, the United Nations and the Red Crescent have presented differing figures, with the UN estimating a preliminary count of 320 fatalities and the Red Crescent documenting 500 lives lost. These figures are presently undergoing rigorous verification processes to establish accuracy.
The epicenter of the earthquake, situated northwest of Herat city, unleashed a series of formidable aftershocks that sent tremors rippling through the region. Abdul Shakor Samadi, a resident of Herat city, vividly recounts experiencing no less than five powerful tremors. In response, residents hastily evacuated their homes, gripped by the fear of further seismic disturbances. The impact of these tremors has been profoundly felt, with reports of extensive structural damage affecting residences, offices, and commercial establishments across the area. The neighboring provinces of Badghis and Farah have also borne the brunt of these unsettling aftershocks.
Mohammad Abdullah Jan, a spokesperson for the disaster authority, has confirmed that homes in four villages within the Zenda Jan district of Herat province have sustained severe damage from the initial earthquake and subsequent aftershocks. Reports of significant structural damage in the adjoining provinces of Farah and Badghis have also surfaced. Responding to the crisis, the World Health Organization has dispatched a fleet of ambulances to Zenda Jan to facilitate the evacuation of casualties to nearby medical facilities. Tragically, the majority of those affected are women and children.
Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban-appointed deputy prime minister for economic affairs, has conveyed his heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives or sustained injuries in this devastating earthquake. The memory of the June 2022 earthquake, which struck eastern Afghanistan, still lingers fresh in the nation’s collective consciousness. That catastrophic event, the deadliest in two decades, claimed the lives of no fewer than 1,000 individuals and left approximately 1,500 injured.
As this ongoing crisis continues to evolve, it remains a dynamic and rapidly unfolding story with further updates on the horizon. The paramount focus at this juncture is the provision of immediate relief and steadfast support to the beleaguered communities grappling with the aftermath of this catastrophic earthquake.