Just days after two powerful earthquakes claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people in western Afghanistan, another tremor, measuring 6.3 magnitude, struck the region early on Wednesday. The earthquake hit at approximately 05:10 local time (01:40 WAT), with its epicentre located 28km (17 miles) north of the city of Herat. More than 100 individuals have been reported injured and taken to hospitals for medical attention.
This latest earthquake has added to the misery of residents who were already reeling from the aftermath of the previous seismic events. Many were forced to sleep in the open after their homes were destroyed, and now, with the fresh tremor, their plight has worsened. Aid agencies have raised concerns about a shortage of essential supplies, including blankets and food, further exacerbating the crisis.
Eyewitnesses in central Herat described scenes of terror as the new quake struck. One survivor, who had been sleeping outdoors since the first earthquake, recounted waking up to the violent tremors. “I have never felt so close to death,” she said, adding that she ran barefoot to the outskirts of the city, where many others have been sheltering in tents since the initial disaster.
The impact of this recent earthquake is yet to be fully assessed, but images from affected villages paint a grim picture. Entire houses, unable to withstand the tremors, have been reduced to rubble. The widespread destruction has left communities in shock, struggling to cope with the loss of lives and livelihoods.
Afghanistan, positioned near the junction of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates, is no stranger to earthquakes, especially in the Hindu Kush mountain range. The frequency of these natural disasters has made the region particularly vulnerable, emphasising the urgent need for comprehensive disaster preparedness and response measures.
As rescue operations continue and communities attempt to rebuild amidst the ongoing challenges, international assistance and support are critical. Humanitarian organisations are mobilising to provide aid to the affected areas, aiming to alleviate the suffering of the survivors and help them recover from the devastating impact of these successive earthquakes.