Rodrigo Abd Associated Press Aerial view of the suburbs of Herat, Afghanistan, last June. Two earthquakes with a magnitude of 6.3 killed at least 2,000 people in the province of the same name, in the west of the country, on Saturday.
Powerful earthquakes have killed at least 2,000 people in western Afghanistan, a Taliban government spokesperson announced on Sunday. This is one of the deadliest earthquakes in the country in twenty years. However, these figures could not be independently verified.
The 6.3 magnitude earthquake was followed by strong aftershocks on Saturday, recalled a spokesperson for the national authority of disaster management of the country.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the epicenter of the earthquake was about 40 kilometers northwest of the city of Herat. It was followed by three very strong aftershocks, of magnitude 6.3, 5.9 and 5.5, as well as smaller tremors.
On Sunday, in Herat, residents tried to clear the dead and injured people with their hands, climbing over rocks and debris. Survivors and victims were trapped under collapsed buildings, their faces gray with dust.
Abdul Wahid Rayan, spokesman for the Ministry of Information and Culture, said on Sunday that the death toll was higher than initially reported. Villages have been destroyed and hundreds of civilians are buried under the rubble, he added, asking for urgent help.
“In addition to the 2,060 dead, 1,240 people are injured and 1,320 houses are completely destroyed,” Mr. Rayan said. At least a dozen teams were mobilized to take part in the rescue operations, including the military and non-profit organizations such as the Red Crescent.
International aid< /h2>
The United Nations International Organization for Migration deployed four ambulances with doctors and psychosocial support counselors to the regional hospital. At least three mobile health teams are on their way to Zenda Jan district, one of the worst-affected areas.
Doctors Without Borders has set up five medical tents at Herat Regional Hospital to accommodate up to 80 patients. Authorities treated more than 300 patients, according to the agency.
Neighboring Pakistan said it was deeply saddened by the earthquake. “We are in contact with the Afghan authorities to obtain a first-hand assessment of the urgent needs of those affected by the earthquake,” the Foreign Office said. “Pakistan will provide all possible support to the reconstruction efforts. »
China's Ambassador to Afghanistan, Zhao Xing, said his government and the country's charitable institutions were ready to provide aid of any kind. “We are in contact with Afghan government aid agencies to provide aid to the needy,” he said on X, formerly Twitter.
Afghan cricket star Rashid Khan has announced he is donating all his Cricket World Cup fees to help survivors of the Herat earthquake. “Soon we will launch a fundraising campaign to appeal to those who can support those in need,” he told his 1.9 million followers on X.
In June 2022, a powerful earthquake struck a rugged, mountainous region of eastern Afghanistan, killing at least 1,000 people and injuring approximately 1,500.
Canada monitors Afghanistan
The Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs offers her support to the Afghan people. Mélanie Joly affirmed on the X platform that “Canada is ready to support the Afghan people” following the 6.3 magnitude earthquake that struck near Herat, the fourth largest city in Afghanistan.
An email from Global Affairs Canada indicates that, to its knowledge, no Canadians are missing or killed following the earthquake. land.
Canadian International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen said Ottawa is closely monitoring the situation.
In a post on X, he called the news of the earthquake “heartbreaking” and wrote that Canada is thinking of families and to victims' relatives as details emerge.
A Taliban government spokesman said the quake killed more than of 2,000 people, but as of Sunday morning, this figure had not been independently verified.
The Canadian Press