Third Earthquake Rattles Afghanistan, Intensifying Crisis

Western Afghanistan has been hit by yet another earthquake, coming only days after two other major seismic events claimed over 1,000 lives in the region.

by Faruk Imamovic
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Third Earthquake Rattles Afghanistan, Intensifying Crisis
© Getty Images News/Natalie Behring

Western Afghanistan has been hit by yet another earthquake, coming only days after two other major seismic events claimed over 1,000 lives in the region. With the dust barely settled from the previous tragedies, this new tremor has further heightened fears and anxiety among the already traumatized population.

Seismic Details and Initial Reports

According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the latest earthquake, with a magnitude of 6.3 on the Richter scale, originated near the city of Herat, at a depth of 6.3 km. While the quake's epicenter was pinpointed to be approximately 30 km northwest of Herat, which is Afghanistan's third-largest city and located close to the Iranian border, early reports suggest there have been no immediate casualties.

Afghanistan's position near the junction of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates, particularly in the Hindu Kush mountain range, makes it especially susceptible to earthquakes. These geological factors have spelled recurring disaster for the nation and its citizens.

The BBC cites a statement from UNICEF that highlights a particularly harrowing statistic: in past earthquakes, over 90 percent of the fatalities were women and children.

A People on Edge

Residents of the affected areas, still traumatized from the recent tremors, reportedly opted to sleep outdoors during Sunday's earthquake, their fears of homes collapsing over them too palpable to ignore.

Adding to their woes were subsequent dust storms, which not only made living conditions even more unbearable but also damaged many of the tents in which survivors took shelter. Hamid Nizami, a 27-year-old shopkeeper from Herat, voiced the collective sentiment of the region to AFP: “Herat’s people are panicked and scared.

It’s Allah’s blessing that it happened during the day, people were awake”. He went on to express concern over the imminent approach of winter, noting, “Many of our countrymen don’t have any place to live and nights are getting colder”.

Rising Death Toll and Humanitarian Concerns

While the ruins of homes stand as grim reminders of families lost in mere moments during last week's quakes, the larger picture is even more concerning. The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that nearly 20,000 people have been impacted by this series of disasters, with a significant number of the deaths being women and children.

As Afghanistan grapples with the aftermath of these consecutive tragedies, the immediate need is clear: substantial humanitarian aid, timely medical assistance, and a concerted effort to rebuild, both physically and emotionally.

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