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Afghanistan Earthquake Death Toll Rises to More than 2000

The earthquakes that struck western Afghanistan on Saturday, October 7, 2023, have dove the country into a remarkable emergency. The seismic tremor, estimating 6.3 on the Richter scale, struck the western Herat region, resulting in trail of destruction and despair in its wake.

Afghanistan Earthquake Death Toll Rises to More than 2000

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The earthquake’s focal point was in the Zindajan district, around 25 miles west of Herat city, one of Afghanistan’s cultural and economic centers.

Two strong earthquakes, each estimating 6.3 in magnitude, rocked this already vulnerable region, leading to widespread devastation. The aftermath of the quakes was nothing short of catastrophic.

As indicated by Mullah Janan Saiq, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s Ministry for Disaster Management, the death toll rapidly climbed, with more than 2,000 lives lost, including women and children.

Sadly, this number was supposed to rise as search and rescue operations proceeded. Thousands of individuals were wounded, some critically, as homes and buildings crumbled under the relentless force of the quakes.

The destruction was broad to the point that 100 percent of homes were estimated to have been completely destroyed in 11 villages.

This left tens of thousands of people homeless, desperate, and in need of urgent assistance. The earthquake not only shattered buildings but also shattered lives and dreams.

With winter just a month away, the circumstance turned out to be much more critical. Afghanistan was at that point wrestling with a emergency, as 15 million individuals, 33% of the population, were unsure about their next meal.

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The World Food Programme (WFP) urgently needed $400 million in funding to provide food to remote areas and help millions of vulnerable people, including widows and the disabled, survive the harsh winter conditions.

As the Afghan people confronted this catastrophe, international aid agencies and organizations scrambled to provide much-needed support.

In spite of the difficulties posed by the Taliban’s rule and the withdrawal of many aid groups after their takeover in 2021, many countries rallied to help the Afghan people in their time of need.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed solidarity with the Afghan people and called on the international community to unite and support those affected by the earthquake. UN agencies and partners deployed additional teams on the ground to bolster efforts.

UNICEF, the UN’s children’s fund, dispatched essential supplies such as hygiene kits, family kits, winter clothes, blankets, tarpaulins, and basic household items to assist affected families. Teams on the ground provided emergency medical supplies and tents to overwhelmed health clinics.

The Afghan Red Crescent Society, MSF, WFP, and Unicef were among the organizations that dispatched help to the impacted regions.

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China’s Red Cross Society contributed $200,000 in emergency cash aid, while neighboring Pakistan pledged its support for the recovery efforts. Still, more assistance was needed to address the dire circumstances facing the Afghan people.

The earthquake struck a nation previously troubled by a huge number of emergencies. Afghanistan had long been one of Asia’s poorest nations, with its economy heavily dependent on international aid.

The Taliban’s takeover in 2021 exacerbated the situation as international funding was cut off, leaving millions in dire need.

The Afghan people were reeling from an economic crisis, food insecurity, and a collapsing healthcare system. The earthquake, a disaster on top of a disaster, pushed vulnerable communities to the brink. Many families lost their homes and breadwinners, leaving them in urgent need of aid and suitable shelter.

Herat province, home to more than 3 million people on the border with Iran, had already been grappling with a prolonged drought that had devastated agricultural communities.

Additionally, the region housed many refugees who had recently returned from Iran and Pakistan, adding to the complexity of the crisis.

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