More than 2,400 people have been killed in Saturday’s powerful earthquake and aftershocks in Afghanistan, the Taliban government said on Sunday, the deadliest earthquake to hit the country.

More than 1,300 homes were destroyed on Saturday by the powerful 6.3-magnitude earthquake, which was followed by eight aftershocks. The earthquake struck areas located 30 kilometers northwest of the city of Herat, in the western part of the country, according to Afghan authorities.

A new 4.2-magnitude aftershock occurred in the same zone at around 07:00 (05:30 Greek time) on Sunday morning, according to the US geodynamic institute USGS.

The tremors are among the world’s deadliest this year, after those in Turkey and Syria that killed an estimated 50,000 people in February.

Janan Saqiq, a spokesman for the Taliban’s disaster management ministry, said in a message to Reuters that the death toll had risen to 2,445, but revised down the number of wounded to “more than 2,000”.

He had earlier stated that 9,240 people had been injured by the earthquakes, while the Red Cross had announced earlier yesterday that the death toll was at 500.

The spokesman for the Taliban’s disaster relief ministry also said 1,320 houses had been damaged or destroyed.

Ten rescue teams are in the area, which borders Iran, he added at a press conference he gave.

More than 200 dead had been taken to various hospitals, said a Herat health official, who identified himself as Danis, adding that most were women and children.

Bodies have been “taken to various places – military bases, hospitals,” he added.

Couches had been set up outside Herat’s main hospital, while the victims of the earthquake who arrived were too many, according to photos circulating on social media.

There is an urgent need for food, drinking water, medicine, clothing and tents to help the earthquake victims, Suhail Sahin, the head of the Taliban’s political office in Qatar, said in a message to the media.

Herat’s medieval minarets have also suffered damage, photos posted on social media show.

In this city, which is considered the cultural capital of Afghanistan, many residents fled their homes after the first strong earthquake of 6.3 degrees. One resident, Nasima, said the earthquakes caused panic in Herat.


“People have come out of their homes, we are all in the streets,” she wrote in a message to Reuters on Saturday, adding that aftershocks were occurring.

There are a total of 202 public health facilities in Herat province, one of which is the large district hospital, where 500 victims have been treated, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement yesterday.

The vast majority of these facilities are smaller health centers and problems with supply chains hampered business, particularly in remote areas, according to the WHO.

“As search and rescue operations continue, casualties in these areas have yet to be fully identified,” he noted.

The latest disaster comes as Afghanistan is already suffering a severe humanitarian crisis after most foreign aid was cut off after the Taliban return to power in 2021.

Herat province, home to about 1.9 million people, according to World Bank figures, has also been hit by a years-long drought that has crippled many already struggling rural communities.

Earthquakes are frequent in Afghanistan, particularly in the Hindu Kush mountain range, which is located near the point where the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates meet.

In June 2022, a magnitude 5.9 earthquake, the deadliest to hit Afghanistan in 25 years, killed more than 1,000 people and left thousands homeless in impoverished Paktika province. in southeastern Afghanistan.