Death toll doubles after Afghanistan earthquake


The death toll from a series of earthquakes in western Afghanistan rose sharply again on Sunday to more than 2,000, with almost 10,000 people injured.

Rescue workers are still searching through the rubble of devastated towns for signs of life.

More than 1,300 houses were destroyed during Saturday’s 6.3 earthquake – followed by eight strong aftershocks about 30 km northwest of the provincial capital Herat, officials said.

“Our people experienced an unprecedented earthquake,” said Mullah Janan Sayeq, spokesperson for the Ministry of Disaster Management. He said at least 2,053 people were killed and 9,240 injured in 13 towns.

“We are doing our best for the treatment of victims of the incident,” he told reporters in Kabul.

He warned that the death toll could still rise as clean-up work continued.

One further 4.2 aftershock struck the same area around 07:00 (0230 GMT) on Sunday morning, the US Geological Survey said.

Most rural houses in Afghanistan are made of sun-baked mud bricks built around wooden posts. There is very little modern steel reinforcement used.

Several generations of extended families usually live under the same roof. Disasters like Saturday’s earthquake can therefore devastate local communities.