"Earthquake Devastates Western Afghanistan, Adding to Country's Crisis: Death Toll Surpasses 2,000"

Earthquake Devastates Western Afghanistan, Adding to Countrys Crisis: Death Toll Surpasses 2,000

As Afghanistan continues to grapple with a humanitarian crisis following the Taliban's return to power, the country has been struck by a catastrophic earthquake. On October 7, a powerful magnitude-6.3 earthquake, followed by several aftershocks, rocked western Afghanistan, leaving in its wake widespread destruction and causing the death toll to rise to over 2,000, according to a Taliban spokesperson cited by AFP.

The quake, one of the deadliest in the past two decades, has affected multiple provinces, with Herat, Farah, and Badghis bearing the brunt of the devastation. Initial reports from the United Nations indicated that more than 320 people lost their lives, but updated figures are still being verified. Local officials fear that the actual death toll may be higher than reported, with a local Taliban official stating that the number of casualties "is much higher than that." The earthquake has caused immense damage, with villages reduced to rubble and hundreds of people still trapped beneath the debris. Images and footage depict apocalyptic scenes, while survivors recount the horror and aftershocks that followed. Efforts to rescue those trapped are ongoing, but limited resources and damaged infrastructure hinder the response.

In response to the disaster, the Afghan government has called for urgent aid from both local and international donors. The local governor of the affected region has urged people to assist those in need, while also calling for medical supplies and support for the overwhelmed regional hospital. The World Health Organization in Afghanistan has dispatched ambulances to provide immediate medical assistance and transport the wounded to hospitals. The earthquake's epicentre was located northwest of Herat city, near the border with Iran.

The tremors were felt in neighbouring provinces as well, exacerbating the region's already dire circumstances. The lack of working telephone lines has impeded communication and posed challenges in obtaining accurate information about the affected areas. This is not the first time Afghanistan has endured such a devastating earthquake.

In June 2022, a powerful quake claimed the lives of at least 1,000 people and left 1,500 injured. The country, situated near the junction of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates, frequently experiences earthquakes, particularly in the Hindu Kush mountain range. As Afghanistan battles multiple crises, including political turmoil, a struggling economy, and now a deadly earthquake, it is clear that urgent assistance and international support are needed to mitigate the suffering of its people. The international community must step up efforts to provide aid, resources, and relief to a nation grappling with unimaginable challenges and loss.

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