The student news site of Adrian Wilcox High School in Santa Clara, California

The Scribe

The student news site of Adrian Wilcox High School in Santa Clara, California

The Scribe

The student news site of Adrian Wilcox High School in Santa Clara, California

The Scribe

Devastating Afghanistan Earthquakes Kill Thousands

James St. John
“This map (provided by the United States Geological Survey) shows an earthquake series in western Afghanistan’s Paropamisus Range. In eight days, from 7 to 15 October 2023, there were four quakes of magnitude 6.3, five quakes in the 5s, and fifteen in the 4s.”

A 6.3 magnitude Afghanistan Earthquake has devastated the Afghan population. According to APNews, the death toll has been estimated to be over 2,000, making the earthquakes to be the deadliest Afghanistan has seen in years. Civilians amidst this difficult time have lost nearly everything, and are in dire need of aid and assistance.

As per UNICEF, in the span of a week, three Afghanistan earthquakes struck western Afghanistan. The first one occurred on October 7th, 2023 at around 11 A.M AFT, following another on October 11, 2023. Both were reported to be at a 6.3 magnitude. The most recent of these earthquakes struck on October 15, 2023 at a 6.4 magnitude. 90% of the victims are reported to be women and children. The most heavily impacted area of these earthquakes is the Herat province. The damage caused by these earthquakes and their aftershocks are extremely severe.

UN News reports that within two-thirds of the impacted areas that were evaluated, it is confirmed that 17,000 homes have been critically damaged and 21,500 homes were destroyed. Access to medical care is very limited, with over 40 medical facilities damaged. Around 20 villages have been completely destroyed, and over 154,000 people have been affected by this tragedy.

Additionally, AP News writes around 485 people are still missing, while volunteers continue to conduct their search amidst the rubble. 

In an interview from CNN, they speak to a victim of the name of  Zaher who lost over 13 family members due to the tragic quakes. Zaher’s village was one of those completely destroyed. Zaher speaks about his situation: “We are left with nothing. These ruins used to be our lives, our carpets, food and everything. I now stand on stones and hard ground, where I also sleep.” 

Some news sites assess the government’s response as lacking. NPR writes that recovery efforts by rescue teams have been slowed down due to the interference of the Taliban. Nargis, a female aid worker, states that during her team’s rescue efforts, they were, “not allowed to advance.” Nargis also says that she faces aggravation from Taliban forces due to her affiliation with Western organizations. “When I arrived at the site of the earthquake, one of the Taliban officials came to me and said that this earthquake is God’s wrath because of infidels like you.” NPR also writes that the restrictions inflicted by the Talbian may have an effect on humanitarian and rescue efforts, as they prioritize appealing to wealthy Afghan businesses through donations instead of focusing on long-term relief efforts.

This is an issue as the harsh conditions of winter approach. Afghanistan nights are extremely cold, with temperatures that dip to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Unfortunately, thousands of families currently do not have any housing, and are forced to sleep in the open air with no shelter. Many of these victims are currently residing in make-shift tents. With the lack of aid and supplies, states these disastrous conditions are “looming threats to their safety,” causing the current survivors to be vulnerable to the harsh winter conditions that await. 

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) assessed five districts of Afghanistan spanning to 5,181 households. The report writes that, “96% of shelters were destroyed 80% of livestock has been killed, 100% of girls and 96% of women face protection risks, including violence, 47% of respondents have no access to water for drinking or cooking, and 89% of respondents do not have enough milk or infant formula to feed babies and young children.” The IRC is assisting in efforts by also conducting a comprehensive needs assessment to understand “the specific requirements of affected families.” It is believed that this would provide aid to those affected in a timely and precise manner. The IRC is taking donations if one wishes to assist in their emergency rescue response in Afghanistan.

This disaster has proven to be incredibly damaging to thousands of families across Afghanistan, and it is important that we bring attention to this disaster so the victims impacted by these earthquakes receive the assistance that is required.

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