People affected by an earthquake wait for relief in Herat, Afghanistan, 07 October 2023. EFE-EPA/STRINGER

Lone survivor scours piles of rubble in search of family after Afghan quake

Kabul, Oct 8 (EFE).- “Am I the only survivor,” a heart-wrenching cry echoes through the rubble after a devastating earthquake and aftershocks hit Afghanistan, leaving thousands dead and injured.

The man with tears in his eyes was desperately searching for his entire family trapped beneath the remains of his house destroyed in the tremor that shook the western Herat province of the impoverished country on Saturday.

“Fourteen of my relatives are under this rubble,” he cries, standing atop a hill of ruins, haunted by the realization that he alone survived.

His home, constructed from adobe and stones, is reduced to a heap of debris, and the fate of his entire family remains uncertain.

With anguish and anger, he picks up pieces of his shattered home and scatters them into the air. “Even my five-day-old son is under the clouds of dust… Oh, God,” he implores in a viral social media video.

Only the entrance door and a part of the wall that outlined the terrain of his home stand, and nothing else remains except for a mound of rubble and stones.

He scatters through the rubble, believing that the bodies of his loved ones are buried within. “Please bring something to rescue them and get them out, please,” he pleads.

Preliminary reports indicate that more than 2,400 people have died, with another 2,000 injured, according to Mula Janan Sayeq, the spokesperson for the Disaster Management Ministry.

Saturday witnessed seven tremors in Afghanistan, with the first and fourth being the most powerful, registering at a magnitude of 6.3.

The quakes were centered in the Zindah Jan district, as reported by the United States Geological Survey.

The region experienced six aftershocks, ranging from magnitudes 5.5 to 6.3, within an hour. As residents grappled with fear, two more tremors, measuring 4.8 and 4.9, occurred shortly.

Most of the victims hailed from the 13 hardest-hit villages in the quake epicenter of Zindah Jan.

Afghanistan is situated within the Hindu Kush mountain range, an area known for its high seismic activity and a common source of earthquakes in the surrounding regions.

Consequently, Afghanistan is highly susceptible to natural disasters, and its vulnerable population and inadequate infrastructure exacerbate the challenges posed by such events. EFE