Western Afghanistan was rocked by two powerful earthquakes on Saturday, resulting in a catastrophic loss of life and destruction. According to official reports, these devastating quakes have left a staggering toll, with more than 4,000 people killed or injured, and approximately 2,000 homes reduced to rubble.
The Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) released this grim statistic during a press conference held in Kabul on Monday. Mullah Saiq, the ANDMA spokesperson, shared the somber news, stating, “So far, the statistics we have received regarding casualties are unfortunately exceeding 4,000 people. According to our data, in about 20 villages, approximately 1,980 to 2,000 houses have completely collapsed.”
The tragedy unfolded in Afghanistan’s Herat Province and surrounding areas on a fateful Saturday afternoon, with the first tremor striking at approximately 11:10 local time (0640 GMT), as reported by Reuters.
In the wake of this disaster, over 1,000 rescuers have been mobilized, and organized into 35 rescue teams representing various institutions, to provide critical relief efforts in the affected regions, according to the ANDMA spokesperson.
The earthquakes have proven to be one of the deadliest natural disasters worldwide this year, with the Taliban government reporting a death toll of at least 2,400 lives and many more injured. This calamity now stands alongside the tragic tremors in Turkey and Syria, where an estimated 50,000 people lost their lives, underscoring the devastating impact of seismic events in the region.
Taking immediate action in the face of this tragedy, Mohammad Hasan Akhund, Afghanistan’s acting prime minister, led a delegation of officials to visit the stricken region in Herat Province on Monday. The visit aims to assess the extent of the devastation and facilitate efforts to provide much-needed assistance to the affected communities.
In a display of international solidarity and support, China extended a helping hand by providing the Afghan Red Crescent with $200,000 in cash on Sunday. This emergency humanitarian assistance is intended to bolster ongoing rescue and disaster relief endeavors, offering a glimmer of hope amid the immense challenges faced by those affected.
As the world grapples with the scale of this humanitarian crisis, efforts are being intensified to offer aid, comfort, and solace to the survivors and victims’ families. The resilience of the Afghan people and the global community’s response in these trying times underscore the collective commitment to stand together in the face of adversity.