On October 15th, a fresh earthquake struck Western Afghanistan, occurring several days after two significant tremors in the area resulted in the death of over 1,000 individuals.
On Sunday, an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.3 occurred in the northwest region of Herat, a city in Afghanistan. The earthquake occurred at 0336 GMT, approximately 20 miles away from the city, in a region of western Herat province.
The United Nations reported that the earthquake destroyed at least six villages in the rural Zenda Jan district, affecting over 12,000 people.
Afghanistan is currently experiencing a severe humanitarian crisis exacerbated due to the withdrawal of foreign aid, which has occurred in the wake of the Taliban’s resurgence to power. Earthquakes are frequent in Afghanistan. The ones in the west and center of the country are majorly caused by the Arabian and Eurasian tectonic plates jutting against each other.
The healthcare situation in Herat
Hospitals in western Afghanistan, specifically in Herat province, are overwhelmed following the consecutive earthquakes that struck the region. The local authorities report that these seismic events have led to over 4,000 casualties, including both fatalities and injuries. This situation has placed a severe burden on healthcare facilities in the affected areas.
The hospital was already facing significant challenges due to issues like malnutrition, poverty, and shortage of medical supplies and equipment. Following the recent devastating earthquakes, which are estimated to have caused over 3,000 casualties, and with residents still searching for their missing loved ones in the debris, the hospital has reached its capacity and cannot admit any more patients.
The country’s healthcare system is in danger of failing despite the enormous demand, and what we see in Herat confirms this. Before the Taliban took power, access to healthcare was a significant problem in Afghanistan. However, after the Taliban took power, most international help has been discontinued, including financing from the World Bank for WHO basic and essential care activities in the province of Herat.
People in more than 2,000 villages in the Herat province have left their homes since the weekend out of fear for what is to come. Numerous others are also emigrating from Herat city. However, the hospital’s patients, relatives, and medical staff remain stranded there.
The disaster has been harsh on the survivors as they try to cope with the death of several family members in multiple locations. Inhabitants are outnumbered by volunteers who have come to search for the debris and build mass graves.