On Saturday, October 7, western Afghanistan experienced a series of strong earthquakes, with the primary tremor registering a magnitude of 6.3.
As search and rescue efforts progress, the death toll has now exceeded 2,000, according to statements from a Taliban government spokesperson. The Zenda Jan district in Herat province suffered the most devastation, with entire villages, including Mahal Wadakha, completely destroyed. The tremors resulted in hundreds of civilians being buried under rubble and debris.
Initial reports from local authorities indicated 100 deaths and 500 injuries. However, these figures have since dramatically increased, with the UN warning that the final count could be even higher. Aftershocks followed the main quake, causing additional damage and hindering rescue operations. These subsequent tremors have created fear among residents, leading many in Herat to evacuate their homes in anticipation of further aftershocks.
Abdul Wahid Rayan, a spokesperson from the Ministry of Information and Culture, confirmed that six villages were completely wiped out. The earthquakes also caused significant structural damage, with approximately 465 homes destroyed and another 135 experiencing partial damage.
The ongoing rescue operations are focused on rescuing survivors trapped beneath collapsed buildings and rubble. Dedicated teams are working tirelessly, recognizing the urgency of their mission. The international community and various organizations are providing support. The World Health Organization has dispatched ambulances to evacuate casualties from the affected areas and assess the medical needs.
Both the Taliban leadership and foreign diplomats have expressed their condolences to the victims and their families.