A magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit western Afghanistan on Saturday causing one death and dozens of injuries, officials said, predicting the toll could rise amid reports of landslides and building collapses.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the epicentre was 40 kilometres (25 miles) northwest of the region’s largest city of Herat, and was followed by five aftershocks with magnitudes of 5.5, 4.7, 6.3, 5.9 and 4.6.
At least 1,000 people were killed and injured in a series of earthquakes that hit the northwestern part of Afghanistan on Saturday, officials said.
Afghanistan Disaster Management Authority’s spokesman Mullah Janan Saiq said the death toll could further rise, adding that the tremors caused heavy damage in northwestern Herat and Badghis provinces.
“Three villages in Herat province were completely destroyed, hundreds of people are still trapped under the debris,” Saiq told Anadolu over the phone.
He added that it was difficult to find the exact number of casualties, but so far the figure of 1,000 was reported by local officials.
Long series of deadly quakes
Herat — 120km east of the border with Iran — is considered the cultural capital of Afghanistan. It is the capital of Herat province which is home to an estimated population of 1.9 million, according to 2019 World Bank data.
In June last year, more than 1,000 people were killed and tens of thousands made homeless after a 5.9-magnitude quake — the deadliest in Afghanistan in nearly a quarter of a century — struck the impoverished province of Paktika.
In March of this year, 13 people were killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan by a magnitude 6.5 quake, which hit near Jurm in northeastern Afghanistan.
The country is frequently hit by earthquakes, especially in the Hindu Kush mountain range, which lies near the junction of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates.
Afghanistan is already in the grip of a grinding humanitarian crisis, with the widespread withdrawal of foreign aid since the Taliban returned to power in 2021. [Dawn]
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