Rescuers search for survivors after earthquake rocks Badghis province

By Salaam Times and AFP

Local residents search for survivors on January 18, a day after a 5.3-magnitude earthquake hit Qadis district, Badghis province, in this photograph posted on social media. [File]

Local residents search for survivors on January 18, a day after a 5.3-magnitude earthquake hit Qadis district, Badghis province, in this photograph posted on social media. [File]

HERAT -- Rescuers Tuesday (January 18) searched for survivors of a powerful earthquake in remote Badghis province that killed at least 22 people and caused "massive" damage to buildings, officials said.

Monday afternoon's shallow 5.3-magnitude quake jolted Qadis district, a rural area not easily accessible by road.

"The earthquake caused massive damage to houses; about 700 to 1,000 have been damaged," Badghis provincial spokesman Baz Mohammad Sarwary said in a video message.

Afghanistan is already in the grip of a humanitarian disaster, worsened by the collapse of the Afghan government last August.

The country also suffered its worst drought in decades in 2021.

Sarwary said 22 people were killed and four were injured, revising the death toll from the previous figure of 26 he gave to AFP late Monday. Four children were among those killed, he said.

"There is the possibility that the casualties could increase," he said in his latest video message.

Images circulating on social media showed residents, including children, searching through the rubble of collapsed houses.

Epicentre near Qala-e-Naw

The epicentre of the quake was near Qala-e-Naw, the capital of Badghis, less than 100km from the Turkmen border, according to the US Geological Survey.

The United Nations has said it needs $5 billion in 2022 to avert the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan.

The United States on January 11 promised more than $308 million in an initial aid package for Afghanistan this year.

A devastating drought has compounded the crisis, with earthquake-hit Qadis one of the worst affected areas.

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

Even weak earthquakes can cause significant damage to poorly built houses and other buildings in the impoverished country.

In 2015, more than 380 people were killed in Pakistan and Afghanistan when a powerful 7.5-magnitude earthquake ripped across the two countries, 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.

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Drought, poverty, cold winter season have caused Afghans to face severe suffrages, and the earthquake added more. If one had a house, it was also collapsed due to the earthquake. Now they will need to live a severe life of poverty under the clear sky. God knows whether they are provided with aids or not. And even if they are provided with assistance, it may also be taken away by others because so far, no devoted leaders have been found in Afghanistan who may consider the pain of Afghans as their pain and stand beside them in difficult times. Hope Afghanistan does not remain in such isolation.


The only hope that poor people have in such natural disasters is the international community and the United Nations. The Taliban feed on the bread of the people and live luxury lives with the money of the nation, and that’s it, and their government itself is the burden on people’s shoulders. They don’t accept any responsibility and do not think that the government is a responsibility that they have towards the people. They have confused governance with living luxury lives and having fun. They enforce their stupid decrees, but when it comes to helping the poor people, they make excuses. May Allah have mercy on these poor people