- Written by Rachel Russell
- BBC News
At least 15 people were killed and 78 others injured after an earthquake struck western Afghanistan, officials said.
The US Geological Survey said the 6.3-magnitude earthquake occurred about 40 kilometers from the western city of Herat, near the border with Iran, at about 11:00 local time (06:30 GMT).
Afghan officials said that a number of buildings were damaged, trapping people under the rubble.
At least three strong aftershocks followed the initial earthquake.
“We were in our offices and suddenly the building started shaking. The wall panels started falling and the walls cracked. Some walls and parts of the building collapsed.” Bashir Ahmed, a resident of Herat, told Agence France-Presse.
He added, “I cannot contact my family. Network connections are cut off. I am very worried and afraid. It was terrifying.”
A health official said that more than 70 injured people were receiving treatment in the city’s main hospital.
Student Idris Arsala, the last to safely evacuate his classroom after the earthquakes began, told Agence France-Presse: “The situation was very horrific, and I had never witnessed anything like this before.”
Herat is located 120 kilometers east of the border with Iran and is considered the cultural capital of Afghanistan. An estimated 1.9 million people are believed to live in the governorate, according to 2019 World Bank data.
The country is frequently exposed to earthquakes, especially in the Hindu Kush mountain range, as it is located near the intersection of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates.
In June last year, Paktika Province was hit by a 5.9-magnitude earthquake, killing more than a thousand people and displacing tens of thousands.
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