Afghanistan has been struck by a catastrophic earthquake, resulting in the loss of over 2,000 lives. The calamity occurred on a fateful Saturday, when a 6.3 magnitude earthquake shook the nation to its core, leaving behind a trail of destruction and despair.
The epicenter of the quake was near Herat, one of the most densely populated regions in the country. The impact was so severe that it triggered a series of aftershocks, with magnitudes measuring 6.3, 5.9, and 5.5, along with several lesser shocks.
These aftershocks further exacerbated the already dire situation, causing more damage and panic among the populace.
💔 The death toll from the #Afghanistan #earthquake has increased to 2,400, with rescue efforts hampered by the challenges posed by the #Taliban's rule. Activists report that minimal assistance has made its way to Afghanistan, and a significant number of people are still trapped,… pic.twitter.com/0fdpLclFau
— Volcaholic 🌋 (@volcaholic1) October 9, 2023
Rescue operations were immediately launched, with workers and volunteers tirelessly digging through the rubble, using shovels and their bare hands in an attempt to rescue survivors.
The Associated Press reported heart-wrenching scenes of entire villages flattened, bodies trapped under collapsed houses, and locals waiting for help without even basic tools to dig people out.
The devastation was not limited to human lives alone. The natural disaster also resulted in the destruction of at least 1,300 homes, leaving countless families homeless and in desperate need of aid. The sight of shocked survivors, some unable to speak while others couldn’t stop crying, painted a grim picture of the human suffering caused by this disaster.
Photographer Omid Haqjoo, who visited four villages on Sunday, shared his firsthand account. He described the overwhelming grief and shock among the survivors, many of whom had lost everything they held dear.
A spokesperson for the Taliban government stated if the death toll is confirmed, this would be the deadliest earthquake to strike the country in two decades. This statement underscores the magnitude of the disaster, as it surpasses the earthquake in June 2022, which claimed approximately 1,000 Afghan lives.
WTH is going on today?!
Large earthquake strikes Afghanistan.
Reports indicate a magnitude of between 4.7 and 6.3 near Herat. pic.twitter.com/S8bNHab2Xv
— The Punisher (@PunishDem1776) October 7, 2023
Among the stories of despair, there were also glimmers of hope. The Associated Press reported a miraculous rescue of a baby girl who was buried up to her neck in debris.
Rescuers managed to free the child from the wreckage, cradling her tiny body as they eased her out of the ground. It was believed the hand that held her belonged to her mother, although it remained unclear if the mother survived the ordeal.
Salma Ben Aissa, the committee’s country director for Afghanistan, expressed concern over the lack of disaster management capacity in the country. She emphasized the existing resources were insufficient to cover the needs of the affected people on the ground.
As the death toll continues to rise hour by hour, the need for international aid and support becomes increasingly urgent.
This tragic event serves as a stark reminder of the vulnerability of nations like Afghanistan to natural disasters and the urgent need for improved disaster management strategies.