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    Deadly Earthquakes Strike Afghanistan: Over 2,000 Lives Lost

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    Afghanistan was struck by powerful earthquakes that have claimed the lives of more than 2,000 people and left over 9,000 injured, according to the Taliban administration. These seismic shocks, occurring in a region prone to earthquakes, have brought about the deadliest tremors in years.

    The death toll, initially reported as 500 by a Red Crescent spokesperson on Sunday morning, saw a drastic increase overnight, with the toll now standing at over 2,000. The epicenter of these earthquakes was located 35 kilometers (20 miles) northwest of Herat, with one of them registering a magnitude of 6.3, as reported by the US Geological Survey (USGS).

    Mullah Janan Sayeeq, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Disasters, confirmed that as of now, 2,053 people have lost their lives, while 9,240 others have sustained injuries. Additionally, 1,329 houses have been damaged or destroyed due to the tremors.

    Reports indicate that more than 200 deceased individuals have been transported to various hospitals, according to a Herat health department official known as Dr. Danish. He mentioned that a significant portion of these casualties comprises women and children.

    The chaotic situation has led to bodies being distributed to several locations, including military bases and hospitals. The earthquakes triggered panic in Herat, prompting residents to evacuate their homes and take to the streets. Many have been living in fear of further aftershocks.

    Herat, often referred to as the cultural capital of Afghanistan, is located approximately 120 kilometers east of the Iranian border and serves as the capital of Herat province, which had an estimated population of 1.9 million according to World Bank data from 2019.

    Afghanistan, due to its geographical location near the confluence of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates, is prone to frequent earthquakes, particularly in the Hindu Kush mountain range.

    In June of the previous year, the nation experienced a devastating 5.9-magnitude earthquake in the impoverished province of Paktika. This quake resulted in the loss of over 1,000 lives and left tens of thousands homeless, marking the deadliest earthquake in Afghanistan in nearly 25 years.

    It’s important to note that Afghanistan is grappling with a dire humanitarian crisis exacerbated by the withdrawal of foreign aid following the Taliban’s return to power in 2021.

    As Afghanistan faces this tragedy, neighboring Pakistan has extended its support and solidarity. The Pakistani Foreign Office expressed deep sorrow over the earthquake’s impact on western Afghanistan, offering condolences to the affected families and pledging to assist in the recovery efforts. Pakistan has been in touch with Afghan authorities to assess the urgent needs of those affected.

    Ubaidur Rehman Nizamani, the head of mission at the Pakistan embassy in Afghanistan, emphasized Pakistan’s commitment to providing assistance. Search and rescue teams, medicines, food, and shelter items are among the aid being prioritized to aid in the recovery process.

    Former Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also expressed his condolences and prayers for the victims of the earthquake, conveying his deep grief over the loss of lives and injuries sustained. In these challenging times, the international community’s support and solidarity are crucial to helping Afghanistan recover from this devastating natural disaster.

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