A 6.3 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Afghanistan, Killing 14 people and injuring 78 others

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A 6.3 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Afghanistan, Killing 14 people and injuring 78 others

A 6.3 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Afghanistan, Killing 14 people and injuring 78 others

Herat: A magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck western Afghanistan on Saturday, killing 14 people and injured 78, according to an official, who predicts the death toll might rise due to reports of individuals buried beneath collapsed structures.
“These are the numbers that have been brought to the central hospital so far, but this is not the final figure,” Mohammad Taleb Shahid, The Herat province’s public health director, told AFP. “We have information that people are buried under rubble.”

The epicentre occurred 40 kilometres (25 miles) northwest of Herat, the region’s major city, according to the US Geological Survey, and was followed by five aftershocks with magnitudes of 5.5, 4.7, 6.3, 5.9, and 4.6.

According to a Taliban government spokesperson, crowds of citizens and shops evacuated buildings in the city around 11:00 a.m. (0630 GMT) as the quakes began, causing 25 injuries and one fatality.

“We were in our offices when the building started shaking,” Herat resident Bashir Ahmad, 45, told AFP. “Wall plasters began to fall down, and the walls developed cracks.” Some walls and portions of the structure collapsed.”

“I am unable to contact my family because network connections have been severed.” “I’m too worried and scared; it was terrifying,” he explained.

Mullah Jan Sayeq, spokesman for the National Disaster Management Authority, told AFP that the initial tally was “preliminary” and that landslides had occurred “in the rural and mountainous areas as well.”

“Currently, we don’t have all the information and details,” he added.

“Disaster potentially widespread”

Crowds of women and children stood out in Herat’s wide streets, away from tall structures, in the seconds following the first quake and aftershocks that lasted more than an hour.

According to a preliminary USGS analysis, hundreds of deaths were possible.

“There will almost certainly be significant casualties, and the disaster could be widespread.” “Previous events with this alert level have necessitated a regional or national response,” it stated.

The initial quake’s magnitude had previously been reported as 6.2 by the USGS. It had a modest depth of about 14 kilometres, according to the report.

Herat, located 120 miles east of the Iranian border, is considered Afghanistan’s cultural capital.

According to World Bank data from 2019, it is the capital of Herat province, which has a population of 1.9 million people.

Over 1,000 people were murdered and tens of thousands were displaced in June last year when a 5.9-magnitude earthquake devastated the poor province of Paktika, the deadliest in Afghanistan in nearly a quarter-century.

A magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck near Jurm in northern Afghanistan in March of this year, killing 13 people in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Earthquakes strike the region often, particularly in the Hindu Kush mountain range, which is near the confluence of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates.

Afghanistan is already in a humanitarian crisis as a result of the broad withdrawal of foreign help since the Taliban retook control in 2021.

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