Entire Villages Flattened by a 6.3 Earthquake in Afghanistan

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At least 2,000 civilians in the Heat province have been confirmed dead (Image credit: BBC).

A powerful earthquake of a 6.3 magnitude has struck Afghanistan in the Herat province, flattening whole villages and killing over two thousand people while trapping hundreds under debris. Villagers have resorted to using shovels and bare hands to search for over 500 people who have gone missing. 

Hospitals have been facing difficulties in aiding the roughly 1600 injured. Fortunately, teams from the medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) have already set up at the Erat Regional Hospital, delivering aid to help accommodate the hundreds of injured. Prue Coakley, the acting representative for MSF in Afghanistan, has stated

“Fortunately, most of the patients arriving are non-emergency cases, however, many of them do not have homes to return to, that is why many of them are remaining in the hospital while authorities look for alternative places for them to stay”.

These earthquakes have been particularly damaging to Aphganistan due to the poor structure of many homes and buildings in Aphganistan. The foundations for many of these buildings are either made of burnt bricks with cement mortar or are sun-dried brick masonry buildings. These buildings then have large, heavy ceilings, as well as delicate walls ranging from 20-80 centimeters. As a result, these buildings are highly vulnerable to seismic activity, leading to many buildings being heavily damaged from the resulting earthquakes.  

Abdul Wahid Rayan, a Ministry of Information and Culture spokesman, stated the damage the earthquakes have done to the towns and people living in them. 

“Besides the 2,060 dead, 1,240 people are injured and 1,320 houses are completely destroyed”. 

At least a dozen teams, such as the military and nonprofit organizations like the Red Crescent, have already been scrambling to deliver help.

Irfanullah Sharafzai, a spokesman for the Afghan Red Crescent Society, has reported that seven teams are already working on rescue efforts, while other teams will be arriving from eight other provinces. 

“A temporary camp has been set up for people who have lost their houses and need shelter for now, whatever is in our capacity, we will do for our poor and needy people at this difficult time”. 

Written by Kevin Han

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