Earthquake in Afghanistan Earthquake in Afghanistan  (ANSA)

More misery for quake-struck Afghans

Thousands of people are dead and many are injured in western Afghanistan following two powerful earthquakes, a series of strong aftershocks and a landslide that has blocked a highway and isolated communities in need.

By Vatican News

As the harsh winter months encroach in the hills and highlands of western Afghanistan, frightened villagers are grieving family members killed on Saturday when the first quake struck and are distraught over the loss of their homes and livestock, often their only possessions.

Many, who were unharmed by a second powerful quake on Wednesday morning in Herat province, had been sleeping in tents out of fear and are struggling to come to terms with the loss of multiple family members after entire villages were flattened. 

Two earthquakes and a landslide

The first quake, which measured 6.3 on the Richter Scale, northwest of the provincial capital Herat, killed at least 2,000 people. People are still missing and the death toll is expected to rise.

A second strong quake, on Wednesday morning, also measuring 6.3,  caused more fear and difficulties as it triggered a landslide that has blocked the main Herat-Torghondi highway, slowing aid that is needed to assist thousands of injured persons.

The aid group Doctors Without Borders is on the ground helping regional facilities with personnel, medical supplies and medical tents.

More volunteers digging graves than living residents

Witnesses say that besides rubble and funerals after Saturday’s devastation, there is little left of the villages in the region’s dusty hills at the onset of winter. In the worst-struck places living residents are reportedly outnumbered by volunteers to search the debris and dig mass graves.

Earthquakes are common in Afghanistan, where there are a number of fault lines. (Source AP and other agencies)

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12 October 2023, 16:05