At least 12 killed in Afghanistan earthquake

Jan 17, 2022: At least 12 people have been killed and several others injured in an earthquake in western Afghanistan, an official said.

The victims died when the roofs of their residential houses collapsed in Qadis district in the western province of Badghis, district governor Mohammad Saleh Purdel said.

The earthquake was shallow 5.3 magnitude, according to the US Geological Survey.

“Many people were injured in today’s quake,” Purdel said, adding that the victims included women and children.

Afghanistan is already in the grip of a humanitarian catastrophe, worsened by the Taliban’s takeover in August when Western nations cut off access to international aid and assets held abroad.

Qadis is one of the areas most affected by the catastrophic drought, which has benefited little from international aid over the past 20 years. The country is prone to frequent earthquakes, especially in the Hindu Kush mountain range, near the confluence of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates.

The country is particularly suceptible as earthquakes can cause significant damage to poorly built homes and buildings in impoverished Afghanistan.

In 2015, nearly 280 people were killed when a powerful 7.5-magnitude earthquake centred in the mountain range ripped across South Asia, with the bulk of the deaths in Pakistan.

In that disaster, 12 young Afghan girls were crushed to death in a stampede as they tried to flee their shaking school building.

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