Afghanistan Herat Earthquake: The major temblor was followed by five aftershocks with magnitudes of 5.5, 4.7, 6.3, 5.9 and 4.6.
A magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit western Afghanistan causing one death and dozens of injuries, officials said. The death toll could rise amid reports of landslides and building collapses, they added as the United States Geological Survey said the epicentre was 40 kilometres (25 miles) northwest of the region’s largest city of Herat. The major temblor was followed by five aftershocks with magnitudes of 5.5, 4.7, 6.3, 5.9 and 4.6.
“We were in our offices and suddenly the building started shaking,” 45-year-old Herat resident Bashir Ahmad told AFP, adding, Wall plasters started to fall down and the walls got cracks, some walls and parts of the building collapsed.”
“I am not able to contact my family, network connections are disconnected. I am too worried and scared, it was horrifying,” he said.
National disaster management authority spokesman told AFP that the initial toll was “preliminary” as he feared it would rise as “in the rural and mountainous areas there have been landslides as well”.
“Currently, we don’t have all the information and details,” he said.
USGS preliminary report also concurred saying that hundreds of fatalities were possible.
“Significant casualties are likely and the disaster is potentially widespread. Past events with this alert level have required a regional or national level response,” it said.
Herat- considered the cultural capital of Afghanistan- is home to an estimated population of 1.9 million. In June last year, more than 1,000 people were killed and tens of thousands made homeless after a 5.9-magnitude quake- the deadliest in Afghanistan in nearly a quarter of a century.
In March this year, 13 people were killed in Afghanistan following a quake which hit near Jurm in northeastern Afghanistan.
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