Afghanistan has been struck by a series of deadly earthquakes, causing significant casualties and destruction. The quakes occurred in the west of the country, approximately 20 miles northwest of Herat, with one registering at 6.3 magnitude, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
These earthquakes have resulted in over 2,000 deaths, more than 9,000 injuries, and damage to 1,320 homes, making them among the deadliest to hit Afghanistan in years.
The Ministry of Disasters reported the grim statistics, with the death toll increasing from an earlier estimate of 500 by the Red Crescent. Rescue teams have been dispatched to the affected areas near the Iranian border, where hundreds of bodies have been brought to hospitals, particularly affecting women and children.
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The situation has overwhelmed the healthcare system, already grappling with the challenges of limited resources and restrictions on female aid staff imposed by the Taliban administration. Afghanistan’s reliance on foreign aid, which has seen significant reductions since the Taliban takeover, has further strained the country’s ability to respond to disasters.
Donor countries have expressed concerns about Taliban policies, particularly regarding the treatment of women, and competing humanitarian crises worldwide, which have led to reductions in financial support. The Islamist government has barred most Afghan female aid workers from employment, except for exemptions in the fields of health and education.
This disaster highlights the vulnerability of Afghanistan, with its history of strong earthquakes, and underscores the urgent need for humanitarian assistance, including food, water, medicine, clothing, and shelter for affected residents. The ongoing conflict and the Taliban’s takeover have severely hampered the country’s ability to address natural disasters effectively, leaving many vulnerable to such crises.