Afghanistan faced its second earthquake days after one killed more than 2,000 people and flattened whole villages in Herat in what was one of the most destructive quakes in the country’s recent history.
The magnitude 6.3 earthquake on Wednesday was about 28 kilometers (17 miles) outside Herat, the provincial capital, and 10 kilometers (6 miles) deep, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It triggered a landslide that blocked the main Herat-Torghondi highway, Information Ministry spokesman Abdul Wahid Rayan said.
Janan Sayiq, a spokesman for the Afghan Taliban government’s national disaster authority said Wednesday’s earthquake killed at least one person and injured around 120 others.
The aid group Doctors Without Borders said Herat Regional Hospital received 117 who got injured in Wednesday’s temblor. The group, also known by its French acronym MSF, said it sent additional medical supplies to the hospital and was setting up four more medical tents at the facility.
“Our teams are assisting in triaging emergency cases and managing stabilized patients admitted in the medical tents,” MSF said on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Villagers are distraught over the loss of their homes and livestock, often their only possessions, and worry about the coming harsh winter months. Some said they had never seen an earthquake before and wondered when the shaking of the ground would stop.
The epicenter of Saturday’s quake — also of the same magnitude 6.3 — was about 40 kilometers (25 miles) northwest of the provincial capital, and several aftershocks have been strong.
Taliban officials said more than 2,000 had died across Herat after the earlier quakes. They subsequently said the quakes killed and injured thousands but didn’t give a breakdown of casualties.
Nearly 2,000 houses in 20 villages were destroyed, the Taliban have said. The area hit by the quakes has just one government-run hospital.
On Tuesday, U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said Zinda Jan was the worst-affected area, with more than 1,300 people killed and nearly 500 people still reported missing.
He said U.N. satellite imagery also indicated extreme levels of destruction in the district of Injil.
“Our humanitarian colleagues warn that children are particularly vulnerable and have suffered severe psychological distress from the earthquake,” he said.
He added a technical team of 49 members from Kazakhstan is assisting those affected by the quake.
In his post, Mujahid said Saudi Arabia provided financial assistance to the people of Herat while China donated $200,000 in cash aid through the Afghan Foreign Affairs ministry.