Powerful earthquakes in Afghanistan have killed more than 2,000 people and injured more than 9,000, the Taliban administration said on Sunday, in the deadliest tremors in years in the quake-prone mountainous country.
Amid the confusion, the death toll from Saturday’s quakes spiked from 500 reported on Sunday morning by a Red Crescent spokesperson and 16 from Saturday night.
The quakes hit 35 km (20 miles) northwest of the city of Herat, with one measuring 6.3 magnitude, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said.
In this picture taken on August 13, 2021, Taliban fighters stand on a vehicle along the roadside in Herat, Afghanistan’s third biggest city, after government forces pulled out the day before following weeks of being under siege.
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Mullah Janan Sayeeq, spokesman for the Ministry of Disasters, told Reuters 2,053 people were dead, 9,240 injured and 1,329 houses damaged or destroyed.
More than 200 dead had been brought to different hospitals, a Herat health department official who identified himself as Dr Danish told Reuters, adding most of them were women and children.
Bodies had been “taken to several places – military bases, hospitals,” Danish said.
The quakes caused panic in Herat, resident Naseema said on Saturday. “People left their houses, we all are on the streets,” she wrote in a text message to Reuters, adding that the city was feeling follow-on tremors.