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  4. Earthquake of magnitude 6.3 strikes Afghanistan days after powerful tremors killed thousands

Earthquake of magnitude 6.3 strikes Afghanistan days after powerful tremors killed thousands

The earthquake's epicenter and the extent of any damage or casualties are yet to be determined. Authorities are currently assessing the situation, and further information will be provided as it becomes available.

Edited By: Nitin Kumar @Niitz1 New Delhi Updated on: October 11, 2023 6:48 IST
earthquake
Image Source : AP/FILE PHOTO Afghan women mourn for relatives killed in an earthquake to a burial site after an earthquake in Zenda Jan district in Herat province.

Afghanistan was hit by another powerful earthquake on Wednesday, compounding the nation's woes just days after a devastating tremor claimed the lives of thousands. The latest earthquake, measuring a magnitude of 6.3, sent shockwaves through the region, leaving residents in fear and turmoil.

Afghanistan faced a devastating earthquake on Saturday, with the death toll reported to be at least 2,000, according to a statement by a Taliban government spokesperson. This earthquake has proven to be one of the deadliest in Afghanistan in the past two decades, further exacerbating the country's mounting challenges.

This recent seismic event, measuring 6.3 in magnitude, struck a densely populated area, near Herat, the country's fourth-largest city. The epicenter of the earthquake is estimated to be located approximately 40 kilometers (25 miles) northwest of Herat city. The earthquake was followed by a series of powerful aftershocks, including three measuring 6.3, 5.9, and 5.5 in magnitude, along with several smaller tremors.

Rescue efforts were immediately initiated in the aftermath of the earthquake, with citizens using their bare hands to dig through debris in Herat. Survivors and victims were trapped beneath the rubble, and their faces were covered in dust. Heartbreaking images emerged, including one of rescuers extracting a baby girl buried up to her neck in debris. A hand could be seen cradling the baby's torso as rescuers carefully pulled her out. It remains uncertain whether the child's mother survived the ordeal.

Abdul Wahid Rayan, a spokesperson at the Ministry of Information and Culture, reported that the death toll is likely higher than initially reported, with entire villages being decimated, and hundreds of civilians trapped under the debris. Urgent help was sought to address the catastrophic situation.

Rayan stated, "Besides the 2,060 dead, 1,240 people are injured, and 1,320 houses are completely destroyed."

The response to the disaster involved the mobilization of at least a dozen teams from the military and nonprofit organizations like the Red Crescent. The United Nations migration agency dispatched ambulances and support counselors to the regional hospital, and several mobile health teams were en route to heavily affected areas. Doctors Without Borders established medical tents at Herat Regional Hospital and has already treated over 300 patients. UNICEF provided essential supplies like winter clothes, blankets, and tarpaulins, especially as temperatures dropped.

The Afghan Red Crescent Society sent seven teams for rescue efforts, while additional teams from neighboring provinces were on their way. Aid groups already on the scene, including the World Food Program, provided essential items.

This devastating earthquake further compounds the challenges Afghanistan faces, including food scarcity and a dire humanitarian crisis. Aid organizations have called for international support to address the multifaceted disaster.

Neighboring Pakistan expressed its commitment to coordinating with Afghan authorities to assess immediate needs. China's ambassador to Afghanistan, Zhao Xing, pledged support for those affected. Afghan cricket star Rashid Khan announced his donation of all his Cricket World Cup fees to aid the earthquake survivors, and Japan's ambassador to Afghanistan, Takashi Okada, expressed condolences on social media.

Unfortunately, telephone connections in Herat remain unstable after the disaster, making it challenging to gather information from affected areas. The true extent of the destruction and loss of life continues to unfold as rescue and relief efforts progress.

Also read | Pakistan: Punjab provincial govt might impose COVID-like restrictions in Lahore to curb worsening pollution

Also read | 'So-called declaration of war...': Pakistan slams Israel at UNHRC, fails to acknowledge Hamas victims

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