A file picture shows two Afghan women leaving the sanctuary of Sultan Aqa in Herat (Afghanistan). EFE-FILE/Jalil Rezayee

Several killed, scores injured after 5 quakes hit Afghanistan

Kabul, Oct 7 (EFE).- At least 15 people have lost their lives, and scores sustained injuries following a series of seven earthquakes ranging from 4.7 to 6.3 magnitudes that struck the western Afghan province of Herat on Saturday, said officials and residents.

Mula Janan Sayeq, disaster management spokesperson, told EFE that the authorities feared the toll might rise as rescue operations continue.

All the tremors had their epicenters in Herat. Five of these quakes occurred within one hour.

“Residents came out onto the streets in fear. The situation in Herat city is dire. Some buildings have collapsed, and most people were injured while fleeing their apartments,” Jameel Ahmad, a Herat resident, told EFE.

According to the United States Geological Survey, the first and largest quake struck at 12:11 at a depth of 14 km and was located 33 km from the city of Zindah Jan in the western province.

Four consecutive aftershocks with magnitudes of 5.5, 4.7, 6.3, and 5.9 occurred within an hour after that.

The fourth earthquake, also measuring 6.3, was recorded at a depth of about 10 km and approximately 29 km from Zindah Jan.

Subsequently, almost an hour later, the US seismology service detected two more tremors in the province, measuring 4.8 and 4.9 in magnitude, respectively.

To aid with the evacuation and rescue of victims in Zindah Jan, the worst-affected area, 12 ambulances from the World Health Organization’s office in Afghanistan have been deployed, the UN organization said on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

“We have sent medicines and medical supplies to the hospitals to support treatment of those wounded. Our warehouse is ready to deploy for additional medicines as needed,” WHO said.

Afghanistan is situated in the Hindu Kush mountain range, a region with significant seismic activities and a common origin point for earthquakes in the surrounding areas, making it one of the countries most susceptible to natural disasters.

The country has a highly vulnerable population, primarily of the impoverished, and inadequate infrastructure to cope with disasters such as floods and earthquakes.

In June last year, an earthquake of magnitude 5.9 in the eastern Afghan provinces of Paktika and Khost, bordering Pakistan, caused over 1,000 deaths and destroyed hundreds of homes.

Afghanistan frequently experiences earthquakes, particularly in the Hindu Kush region.

More than 100 people died in Afghanistan and over 300 in neighboring Pakistan in October 2015 due to a 7.7 magnitude earthquake that had its epicenter in the far northeast of Afghanistan.

In January last year, 22 people died in a 5.3 magnitude earthquake that struck a rural area of the northwestern Badghis province.

A devastating quake in 1998 in the northern region killed approximately 4,000 people. In May of that year, a tremor hit the area again, resulting in about 5,000 fatalities. EFE