On Wednesday 22nd June, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake hit Afghanistan. It killed nearly 1000 people and injured more than 500. It was the deadliest Earthquake to hit Afghanistan in nearly the past two decades.
Important Information about the Earthquake
The earthquake struck 27 miles away from Khost, hitting Paktika province at 21:00 GMT or 01:30 Local Time. It had a depth of 6 miles and was felt across several provinces. The earthquake appeared to originate from movement between the tectonic plates of India and Eurasia.
Although Afghanistan is prone to earthquakes due to it lying on the tectonically active Chaman Fault, Darvaz Fault, Hari Rud Fault, and Central Badakhshan Fault. This was the deadliest earthquake since 1998 when a 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit killing an estimated 4500 people.
News agencies reported that severe damage was caused to homes and buildings leading to landslides in most areas. The earthquake posed to be highly fatal as the Taliban government was unprepared for such an incident. The healthcare facilities for the injured were also ruined due to the earthquake depriving people of medical help.
Widespread Effect of the Earthquake
European seismological department (EMSC) reported that the tremors were felt over 310 miles by almost 119M people across the countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. Tremors were felt as far away as Islamabad in Pakistan and Kabul in Afghanistan.
The government tweeted that over 1500 had been injured and 1000 were dead, while the numbers varied across different news and media agencies. It is reported that nearly 90 houses were destroyed in the district of Khost. In one district of Khost, the earthquake killed 25 people and injured over 95, as was reported by officials.
In an unfortunate turn of events, 17 members of the same family were killed in one village when the roof of their home collapsed. More than 25 villages were completely destroyed including schools, local markets, mosques, and homes. The Head of the Health Department of Paktika declared 381 people dead and 205 injured.
Rescuers Reached the Area to Help the Locals
According to reports, rescuers had arrived at the location by helicopter to extend support to the locals. The Afghan Red Crescent Society extended their help by sending 800 tents and kitchen kits with 4000 blankets to the locals of the inflicted area.
Rescue efforts are likely to be delayed and complicated. Many international agencies have left Afghanistan after the Taliban control leading to a chaotic withdrawal of NGOs and healthcare centers. Most of the areas were remote hills which further contributed to the delay.
Photos shared by Paktika featured men helping the injured who waited in the helicopters while others lay on the ground. Footage showed the residents picking up the rubble and ruins of those whose houses or roofs had fallen.
According to seismologist Robert Sanders, an earthquake of this magnitude was least likely to cause such extensive damage in any other part of the world. However, the devastation was a result of the mountainous region where landslides and rockslides were more common, leading to old buildings crumbling.
Mawlawi Sharafuddin Muslim, an Afghani Minister announced payment for those dead and injured in the aftermath of the earthquake. He declared that the kin of those deceased would receive100,000 Afghanis equivalent to $1,117 and those who were injured would get 50,000 Afghanis equivalent to $558.
Video footage on Twitter showed helicopters and ambulances arriving to secure aid and help.
Previously in January, earthquakes hit remote and mountainous regions of western Afghanistan killing 27 and destroying the lives of millions.