Thousands presumed dead after second earthquake hits

CHAHAK, AFGHANISTAN – In Chahak, Afghanistan, a second powerful earthquake struck the western region on Wednesday, following a previous quake that claimed over 2,000 lives and razed entire villages in Herat province. This recent seismic event, registering a magnitude of 6.3, occurred approximately 28 kilometers from Herat, the provincial capital, and was 10 kilometers deep, as reported by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The quake triggered a landslide that obstructed the main Herat-Torghondi highway, according to Abdul Wahid Rayan, a spokesperson for the Information Ministry. The national disaster authority of the Afghan Taliban government reported that the earthquake resulted in at least one fatality and injured approximately 120 individuals.

The international humanitarian organization, Doctors Without Borders, also known as MSF, reported that Herat Regional Hospital received 117 injured individuals from the quake. MSF has dispatched additional medical supplies to the hospital and is in the process of establishing four more medical tents at the facility.

The earthquake also demolished all 700 homes in Chahak village, which had been spared by the previous tremors. The villagers, now living in tents, are grappling with the loss of their homes and livestock, their primary assets, and are anxious about the approaching harsh winter months.

The epicenter of the previous quake, which also registered a magnitude of 6.3, was approximately 40 kilometers northwest of the provincial capital. The Taliban officials reported that the earlier earthquakes resulted in over 2,000 fatalities across Herat.

The region affected by the eathquakes has only one government-run hospital. The United Nations has warned that children are particularly vulnerable and have suffered severe psychological distress from the earthquake. The Taliban government has acknowledged the aid received from various countries, including Iran, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, and China. However, the delivery of humanitarian aid from Pakistan has been delayed, awaiting clearance from the Taliban.