On October 8, 2023, a massive earthquake of 6.3 magnitude struck western Afghanistan, primarily affecting the area around 35 kilometers northwest of the city of Herat. As per the latest reports:
- Death toll: 2,445
- Injured: Over 2,000
- Houses affected: 1,320 either damaged or completely destroyed
- Displaced families: 600 (Approx. 4,200 individuals)
The tremors and aftershocks were felt in neighboring provinces, including Badghis and Farah. Massive heaps of debris damaged infrastructure and collapsed buildings painted a grim picture of the aftermath.
Rescue and Relief Operations
- Ten rescue teams have been dispatched to the affected areas.
- Food, drinking water, medicine, clothing, and tents have been sent to support victims, as confirmed by Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mojahid.
- Hospitals, especially in Herat, are overwhelmed with the incoming injured. Beds were set up outside the main hospital to accommodate the flood of victims.
- The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) indicates that approximately 4,200 individuals, translating to 600 families, are impacted.
Mahal Wadakah village has been reported as the most devastated, with the UN confirming at least 20 fatalities there. Other significantly affected areas include Dasht Hows, Bahadorzai, Zoryan, and Koshkak.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has noted this earthquake as one of the most devastating globally this year, with only the tremors in Turkey and Syria that took an estimated 50,000 lives in February surpassing it.
Afghanistan’s Seismic History
Afghanistan is no stranger to earthquakes. It’s a region frequently experiencing seismic activities. To put the recent tragedy in perspective:
- A quake in March led to significant destruction in northeastern Afghanistan.
- Tremors were felt from major Pakistani cities to as far as New Delhi, India.
- In June, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake in the eastern provinces resulted in the death of over a thousand.
- A 5.6 magnitude tremor in January 2022 in Badghis, another western province, took the lives of over 20 people.
Country’s Struggles Intensify
Afghanistan, already grappling with a series of earthquakes, is also in the midst of an economic and hunger crisis. After the US’s chaotic withdrawal in 2021, which led to the Taliban taking power, the nation’s capacity to respond to such disasters has been substantially compromised.
- A vast majority of international aid groups withdrew.
- The freezing of about $7 billion of Afghanistan’s foreign reserves by the US and its allies has crippled its already aid-dependent economy.
- The World Bank recently highlighted that two-thirds of Afghan families are facing considerable challenges in maintaining their livelihoods.
Rashid Khan’s Generous Gesture
In light of the recent calamity, Afghanistan cricket star, Rashid Khan, has announced the donation of all his Cricket World Cup match fees to assist the earthquake victims. Khan, who learned about the tragedy during his World Cup duty in India, has been a vocal advocate for the welfare of his fellow countrymen.
On his social media platform, Rashid Khan stated, “I am donating all of my #CWC23 match fees to help the affected people. Soon, we will be launching a fundraising campaign to call upon those who can support the people in need.”
Cricket and Afghanistan
Khan played his first World Cup 2023 match on Saturday in Dharamsala against Bangladesh. The team will be facing India next on October 11 at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi.
Everyone around the world is keeping a close eye on what’s happening in Afghanistan. Loads of countries and global organizations are stepping up, lending a hand with cash, teams, and supplies to help with everything from rescue missions to rebuilding lives.
- The United Nations has appealed to its gang of nations to whip out their checkbooks and get urgent supplies and staff off to where they’re needed pronto.
- Neighboring countries have jumped straight into action like good neighbors should – we’re talking about Pakistan, India, and Iran here – sending emergency assistance, including search and rescue crews, medical stuff, and even tents.
- International charities and aid groups are going all out too, securing resources so immediate help gets to those who need it.
Caught between a rock and a hard place, Afghanistan has yet another battle to fight – the recovery from one of the most destructive earthquakes the country’s ever seen. Right now, foreign aid isn’t just appreciated, it’s necessary for survival. This is their latest hurdle, and it’s not an easy one. The Afghan people are proving their strength and courage once more, coming together in unity to heal their land and lend a hand to those who’ve been left devastated by Mother Nature’s wrath.