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Afghanistan earthquake: Death toll rises to 2,445

Afghanistan earthquake: Death toll rises to 2,445

Kabul: The death toll from the massive 6.3-magnitude earthquake that shook western Afghanistan has risen to 2,445 as rescue officials are racing against time to rescue people from the debris, authorities said.

The earthquake struck about 40 km northwest of the city of Herat, located 120 km east of the Iranian border where an estimated 1.9 million people are believed to be living, at around 11 a.m. on October 7.

The quake also was felt in the nearby Afghan provinces of Farah and Badghis, according to local media reports.

The most affected area is Herat’s Zanda Jan district, where 13 villages have been "utterly destroyed", Mawlawi Musa Ashari, Herat's provincial director for the National Disaster Management Authority said on Sunday night.

Earlier on Sunday, a spokesman for the National Disaster Management Authority, Mullah Janan Shaeq, said more than 9,200 people had been injured during the quakes.

Calling for urgent help, Abdul Wahid Rayan, a spokesman at the Ministry of Information and Culture, said that the death toll is higher than originally reported.

With communications down and many roads blocked, rescue workers are struggling to reach remote areas.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 465 houses have been completely destroyed and a further 135 were damaged.

“As deaths & casualties from the earthquake continue to be reported, teams are in hospitals assisting the treatment of wounded & assessing additional needs,” the U.N. said.

“Partners and local authorities anticipate the number of casualties to increase as search and rescue efforts continue amid reports that some people may be trapped under collapsed buildings,” it added.

Afghanistan is frequently hit by earthquakes, especially in the Hindu Kush Mountain range as it lies near the junction of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates.

In June last year, Paktika province was hit by a 5.9 magnitude quake which killed more than 1,000 people and left thousands homeless.

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TAGS:AfghanistanEarthquakeHeratWorld NewsAfghanistan earthquake
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