Earthquake in Afghanistan claims 120 lives, as rescue operation continues
- Epicentre was 40km northwest of Herat.
- Earthquake was followed by five aftershocks.
- People fled buildings as qukae hit at 11:00am.
Authorities in Afghanistan said Saturday at least 120 people have lost their lives and over 1,000 have been injured after a powerful earthquake struck the western city of Herat.
Mosa Ashari, the province’s disaster management chief said: “So far more than 1,000 injured women, children, and elderly citizens have been included in our records, and about 120 people have lost their lives.”
The US Geological Survey stated that the epicentre was 40 kilometres (25 miles) northwest of largest city of Afghanistan, which was followed by five aftershocks with magnitudes of 5.5, 4.7, 6.3, 5.9 and 4.6
The earthquake that struck near the Iranian border left numerous residences and buildings damaged with people under the debris.
After the earthquake survivors recalled how they were caught in amazement after experiencing shaking.
“We were in our offices and suddenly the building started shaking. Wall plaster started to fall down and the walls got cracks, some walls and parts of the building collapsed,” a resident of Herat told AFP.
“I am not able to contact my family, network connections are disconnected. I am too worried and scared, it was horrifying,” he added.
According to earlier reports, the death toll was 15 however, the authorities had warned that the number could increase once the rescue operation commenced measuring the destruction by the natural disaster.
A video reported to be from the Afghan province showed numerous casualties linked up to portable intravenous drips being treated on the tarmac outside the main building.
Other moving pictures show scenes of devastation in Herat’s Injil district where the rubble of destroyed buildings blocked roads, hampering rescue efforts.
“The situation was very horrible, I have never experienced such a thing,” a student told AFP. He was the last to escape his classroom after the quakes began.
Crowds of residents and shopkeepers fled buildings in the city at around 11:00am as the quakes began, causing 25 injuries and a single fatality, according to a Taliban government spokesperson.
Afghanistan has been hit several times by earthquakes. In June last year, the province of Paktika was hit by a 5.9 magnitude earthquake which killed over 1,000 people and left tens of thousands without their residences.