The death toll from the devastating earthquake that struck Afghanistan on Saturday has now reached 2,445, with over 9,200 people injured, according to the Xinhua news agency. The earthquake, which had a magnitude of 6.2, caused significant destruction, particularly in the Zanda Jan district of Herat, where 13 villages have been completely wiped out. Many people remain trapped under the rubble, and the search and rescue efforts are being hampered by a lack of equipment.
To assist the victims, Afghan national and provincial authorities have deployed around a dozen rescue teams. However, the lack of equipment means that locals and rescuers are having to dig through the debris using their bare hands, in the hopes of finding survivors or bodies.
Arshad Malik, the Afghan director for Save the Children, described the scale of the damage as horrific. He stated that the numbers affected by this tragedy are truly disturbing, and that the numbers will continue to rise as more people are still trapped in the rubble of their homes in Herat. Malik called for an urgent injection of funds from the international community to support the relief and recovery efforts.
The Afghan government is seeking foreign assistance in dealing with the aftermath of the earthquake. Mohammad Sohail Shaheen, the head of the Taliban’s political office in Doha, revealed that Kabul is hoping to receive food, tents, and medicine from foreign aid organizations. The Iranian Red Crescent Society has already sent ten rescue teams and humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, while Pakistan and China have contacted Afghan authorities to assess immediate needs.
The Qatari Foreign Ministry has also expressed solidarity with the Afghan people and offered its assistance in the recovery efforts. They stated that they are fully prepared to provide the necessary aid. The Russian Foreign Ministry also extended its sympathy to the Afghan people, the families of those killed, and the injured. Although Moscow has not received any requests for help, they are ready to consider any appeal if necessary.
The earthquake, which occurred 40km west of the city of Herat, was followed by strong aftershocks in the neighboring provinces of Badghis and Farah. Several tremors, measuring magnitudes 5.9 and 5.5, were recorded by the US Geological Survey. This earthquake is one of the deadliest to occur this year and adds to a growing list of devastating natural disasters, following earthquakes in Turkey and Syria earlier this year that claimed the lives of nearly 50,000 people.
The international community must rally together to provide the necessary support and assistance to the people of Afghanistan during this time of immense loss and devastation. Immediate relief efforts are crucial in saving lives and providing much-needed aid to those affected by the earthquake. It is a time for solidarity and compassion as the people of Afghanistan begin to rebuild their lives in the wake of this tragedy.