Hundreds of people are believed to have been killed and at least 1,000 injured after a powerful earthquake struck western Afghanistan near the Iranian border.
The magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck about 40 kilometers west of the city of Herat at around 11 a.m. local time (06:30 GMT).
Many buildings were damaged, leaving people trapped under rubble and there were at least three strong aftershocks. Survivors described their horror as office buildings first shook and then collapsed around them.
“We were at the office and suddenly the building started shaking. Wall plaster started to fall down and the walls got cracks, some walls and parts of the building collapsed.” Herat resident Bashir Ahmad said.
“I am not able to contact my family, network connections are disconnected. I am too worried and scared, it was horrifying,” he added.
The province’s disaster management chief Mosa Ashari told reporters: “So far more than 1,000 injured women, children, and elderly citizens have been included in our records, and about 120 people have lost their lives.”
Early reports put the confirmed toll at 15, but this was always likely to rise once emergency workers confirmed the full scale of the widespread destruction.
Unconfirmed reports put the current toll at more than 300.
Video recorded from Herat Central Hospital shows multiple casualties involving mobile IVs being treated on the tarmac outside the main building – a sign of the sudden and overwhelming need for health care. large in case of emergency.
Other emotional footage showed scenes of devastation in Herat’s Injil district, where rubble from destroyed buildings blocked roads, hindering relief efforts.