A shallow earthquake measuring 6.3 magnitude rocked western Afghanistan on Sunday (15/10), according to the US Geological Survey (USGS). The quake was the latest tremor to hit a region where entire villages were razed to the ground and more than 1,000 people died in a series of quakes this month.
The quake struck at 0336 GMT, 33 kilometers from the city of Herat, the capital of the western province of the same name, the USGS said.
On October 7, another 6.3-magnitude earthquake and eight powerful aftershocks rocked the same part of Herat, collapsing most of the houses in the village and killing more than 1,000 people and injuring hundreds.
Afghan children sit near their house damaged by an earthquake in Wardakha village, Zendeh Jan district, Herat Province on October 10, 2023. (Photo: AFP)
A few days later, as thousands of frightened residents lost shelter and volunteers searched for victims under the rubble of buildings, another earthquake of the same intensity killed one person and injured 130 others.
More than 90 percent of those killed in the earthquake were women and children, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Wednesday.
The UN said more than 12,000 people were affected by the earthquake. Providing sanctuary on a large scale will be a challenge for the Taliban authorities in Afghanistan, who seized power in August 2021. They also have poor relations with international aid organizations.
Most houses in rural Afghanistan are made of mud and built around wooden pillars, with very little use of steel or concrete.
Large families spanning multiple generations usually live under one roof, meaning a powerful earthquake can devastate a community.
Afghanistan is already experiencing a severe humanitarian crisis, with a widespread withdrawal of foreign aid following the Taliban’s return to power. (ah/ft)