Two Earthquakes Kill Scores in Afghanistan

WHO, local organizations try to reach the injured
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 7, 2023 3:35 PM CDT
Afghanistan Tries to Reach Injured After Earthquakes
The outskirts of Herat, Afghanistan, on June 5.   (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File)

Two 6.3 magnitude earthquakes killed dozens of people in western Afghanistan on Saturday, the country's national disaster authority said. The United Nations gave a preliminary figure of 320 dead but later said the figure was still being verified, the AP reports. Local authorities gave an estimate of 100 people killed and 500 injured, according to the same update from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Mohammad Abdullah Jan said four villages in the Zenda Jan district in Herat province bore the brunt of the quakes and aftershocks. Dozens of houses were damaged.

The US Geological Survey reported the 6.3 magnitude tremblors. It said the epicenter was about 24 miles northwest of Herat city. There was an aftershock with a 5.5 magnitude. A map on the USGS website indicates seven earthquakes in the area. At least five powerful earthquakes struck the city around noon, Herat city resident Abdul Shakor Samadi said. "All people are out of their homes," said Samadi, who felt the earthquake. "Houses, offices and shops are all empty, and there are fears of more earthquakes." The World Health Organization in Afghanistan said it dispatched 12 ambulance cars to Zenda Jan to evacuate casualties to hospitals.

Telephone connections went down in Herat, making it hard to get details from affected areas, per the AP. Videos on social media showed hundreds of people in the streets outside homes and offices in Herat city. The quake was felt in the nearby Afghan provinces of Farah and Badghis, according to media reports. The Taliban urged local organizations to reach earthquake-hit areas as soon as possible to help take the injured to hospital, provide shelter for the homeless, and deliver food to survivors. They said security agencies should use all their resources to rescue people trapped under debris. "We ask our wealthy compatriots to give any possible cooperation and help to our afflicted brothers," the Taliban posted on X. (A 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck Pakistan and Afghanistan in June.)

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