ANKARA – The death toll from Saturday's massive earthquake that hit the northwestern part of Afghanistan has exceeded 2,500, an official said Sunday.
“According to the officials of the Ministry of Disaster Management, the number of martyrs due to the earthquake in Herat has exceeded 2,500,” Khalid Zadran, a spokesperson for Kabul police, said on X, formerly Twitter.
“Aid teams are working in the area. The affected people in the area still need shelter and food,” Zadran added.
Earlier, the Afghanistan Disaster Management Authority said more than 1,300 houses were partially or fully destroyed in the earthquake.
The state-run Bakhtar News Agency, citing the Afghan Red Crescent, reported that some 12 villages in the Zinda Jan and Ghorian districts of Herat province – home to 1.9 million people – have been "completely destroyed."
Rescue teams along with local men are struggling to pull out the dead and injured trapped under the razed houses.
Afghanistan Disaster Management Authority’s spokesperson Mullah Janan Saiq earlier said the death toll could further rise, and that the tremors caused heavy damage in northwestern Herat and Badghis provinces.
According to the US Geological Survey, strong earthquakes of magnitude 5.5, 5.9, and 6.2 jolted the Afghan provinces. It said the epicenter was 40 kilometers (24.8 miles) northwest of Herat city.
Afghanistan is frequently struck by tremors, mainly in the Hindukush mountain range, which sits near the confluence of Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates.
A 5.9 magnitude earthquake in June last year killed over 1,000 people and left tens of thousands homeless in the Paktika province. (Anadolu)