More than 2,400 people have died in earthquakes in Afghanistan, the Taliban government announced on Sunday, the deadliest to shake the earthquake-prone mountainous country in years.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said Saturday’s earthquake in the west of the country occurred 35 kilometers northwest of the city of Herat, with a magnitude of 6.3.
This is one of the world’s deadliest earthquakes this year, after quakes in Türkiye and Syria killed about 50,000 people in February.
Janan Sayeeq, a spokesman for the disaster ministry, said the death toll had risen to 2,445, but he revised the number of injured down to “more than 2,000”.
Previously, he said 9,240 people were injured.
Sayeeq also said 1,320 homes were damaged or destroyed.
The death toll rose from the 500 reported earlier on Sunday by the Red Crescent.
Sayeeq said in a press conference that 10 rescue teams were present in the border area with Iran.
A Herat health department official, who identified himself as Dr. Danish, said more than 200 of the dead were taken to various hospitals, adding that most of them were women and children.
Mr Danish said the bodies were “taken to many places – military bases, hospitals”.
Photos posted on social media showed beds had been set up outside Herat’s main hospital to accommodate victims.
Suhail Shaheen, head of the Taliban political office in Qatar, said in a message to the media that food, water, medicine, clothes and tents were urgently needed.