People help injured victims after another earthquake hit Herat, Afghanistan, 11 October 2023.EFE/EPA/SAMIULLAH POPAL

Lack of food, water aggravates situation after earthquakes in Afghanistan

Herat, Afghanistan, Oct 11 (EFE).- The situation in Afghanistan following a recent series of earthquakes has been aggravated by a shortage of food and water, while survivors continue to sleep outdoors for fear of fresh aftershocks.

The latest aftershocks on Wednesday, one of them of a 6.3-magnitude, left at least 1 dead and over 150 injured in Herat province.

“We have not been able to sleep at home due to the fear of earthquakes, but living in public areas without services is very difficult. I don’t know what she ate, but for two days my daughter has diarrhea,” Bibi Suhila, who camped in a park in the city of Herat, told EFE.

An ambulance drives along a street after another earthquake hit Herat, Afghanistan, 11 October 2023. EFE/EPA/SAMIULLAH POPAL

Haris Ahmad, who also has been sleeping outdoors with the rest of his family in Takht-e-Safar Park, told EFE that they do not have access to sufficient drinking water, and there has been a general absence of emergency and rescue services.

“Believe me, no one has helped us even with a glass of water since Saturday,” when the first earthquake hit western Afghanistan – leaving some 2,400 dead and more than 2,000 wounded according to official figures -, Ahmad rued.

Forced outdoors for fear of continued aftershocks, Ahmad said survivors are having to purchase food with their own savings.

“People are running out of cash little by little, I don’t know how long we will have to keep buying basic products,” he said.

Another problem is the lack of kitchen utensils to cook food outside, causing survivors to eat whatever is available in nearby shops.

“We have no kitchen utensils, and we have been giving our children fast food, which has caused many to get sick in these four days,” Latifa Amiri, another survivor camped outdoors, told EFE.

The situation is aggravated with lack of adequate shelter and skyrocketing prices of tents and crowded parks and sidewalks, added Amiri.

The Taliban government estimates around 4,500 casualties in the earthquake, while underlining that at the moment it is difficult to tell how many are dead and how many are injured, while rescue operations continue.

Last weekend’s devastation left some 20 villages destroyed. It is the third deadliest earthquake to hit the Asian country since 1998 and the worst since the Taliban takeover in mid-August 2021. EFE