Afghanistan is a nation struggling with an economic crisis and high levels of poverty. A recent UN publication stated: ‘With 24.4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance and more than nine in ten living in poverty, the country is in the midst of a crisis on an unprecedented scale.’ Against this backdrop, thousands of people in Afghanistan have been killed, injured or left homeless by a large earthquake which struck on Saturday morning.
Where did the Afghanistan quake hit?
This most recent disaster hit about 20 miles north-west of the city of Herat, with a magnitude of 6.3 as reported by the US Geological Survey (USGS).
The initial quake was followed by three strong aftershocks with magnitudes of 6.3, 5.9 and 5.5, which were also felt in the neighbouring Badghis and Farah provinces.
The impact of the quake
Janan Sayeeq, spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Disasters, is quoted by Reuters as saying that the toll had risen to over 2,400, with the number of injured being ‘more than 2,000’. Sayeeq also said that 1,320 houses had been either damaged or destroyed by the quake.
Images shared online and in the press showed buildings reduced to rubble with people standing in the streets, having fled for safety. Survivors used their hands to desperately dig through rubble in search of people trapped under the debris, hoping to find loved ones alive.