Earthquake in Afghanistan: At least 120 dead and 1,000 injured in magnitude 6.3 earthquake

  • By Rachel Russell
  • BBC News

image source, Getty Images

image description,

People fled buildings in Herat after Saturday’s earthquake

Hundreds of people are killed and at least 1,000 injured after a severe earthquake in western Afghanistan near the Iranian border.

The magnitude 6.3 quake struck about 40 km from the western city of Herat at around 11:00 a.m. local time (06:30 GMT).

Many buildings were damaged, people lay under rubble and there were at least three strong aftershocks.

Survivors described their horror as office buildings around them first shook – and then collapsed.

“We were in our offices and suddenly the building started shaking. The wall plaster began to fall off and the walls developed cracks, some walls and parts of the building collapsed,” Herat resident Bashir Ahmad told AFP.

“I can’t contact my family, network connections are down. I’m too worried and scared, it was terrible,” he added.

Provincial disaster management chief Mosa Ashari told reporters: “So far, more than 1,000 injured women, children and elderly citizens are included in our records and about 120 people have lost their lives.”

Initial reports put the number of confirmed victims at 15, but that number is expected to rise as rescue workers confirm the full extent of widespread destruction. Unconfirmed reports suggest the number is currently over 300.

Video footage purportedly from Herat Central Hospital showed scores of victims being treated for portable intravenous infusions on the tarmac outside the main building – a sign of the sudden and overwhelming need for emergency treatment.

Other moving images show scenes of devastation in Herat’s Injil district, where rubble from destroyed buildings blocked roads and hampered rescue efforts.

“The situation was very terrible, I have never experienced anything like this,” student Idrees Arsala told AFP. He was the last to safely evacuate his classroom after the earthquakes began.

Herat is located 120 km east of the border with Iran and is considered the cultural capital of Afghanistan. According to 2019 data from the World Bank, an estimated 1.9 million people live in the province.

Afghanistan is frequently hit by earthquakes – particularly in the Hindu Kush mountains, as it lies near the intersection of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates.

In June last year, Paktika province was hit by a magnitude 5.9 quake, killing more than 1,000 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless.

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