10-8-2023, 3:08 PM

2,000 people died in Afghanistan's strong earthquake and its aftershocks

A Taliban spokesman said Sunday that 2,000 people died in one of the deadliest earthquakes in 20 years in western Afghanistan.

The national disaster authority reported dozens of deaths in western Afghanistan on Saturday after a magnitude-6.3 earthquake and strong aftershocks.

According to Ministry of Information and Culture spokesman Abdul Wahid Rayan, the Herat earthquake killed more people than reported. He requested immediate assistance after six villages were destroyed and hundreds of civilians buried.

UN initially reported 320 dead but later said it was being verified. Local authorities estimated 100 dead and 500 injured, according to the same U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs update.

The update reported 465 destroyed and 135 damaged houses.

The U.N. said partners and local authorities expect casualties to rise as search and rescue efforts continue amid reports that some people may be trapped under collapsed buildings.

A powerful earthquake in eastern Afghanistan's mountainous region in June 2022 flattened stone and mud-brick homes. At least 1,000 died and 1,500 were injured in the quake.

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