At least 26 people have been killed and hundreds of homes damaged after a 5.3 magnitude earthquake shook Badghis province.
Rescue workers are searching for survivors after an earthquake in a remote western region of Afghanistan killed at least 26 people and damaged hundreds of homes, officials said.
Monday’s 5.3 magnitude earthquake shook the province of Badghis, destroying hundreds of homes, mostly in the rural Qadis district, which are not easily accessible by road.
“The quake caused extensive damage to homes, damaging about 700 to 1,000,” Badghis provincial spokesman Baz Mohammad Sarwary said in a video message.
“There is a possibility that the number of casualties could increase.”
Images circulated on social media showed residents, including children, searching through the rubble of collapsed homes for belongings and essential items.
Taliban government spokesperson Inamullah Samangani said rescue workers were helping to find survivors and transfer the wounded to local hospitals.
A Taliban team was in the area and helped with the relief work.
Some of the victims, including women and children, were killed when the roofs of their homes collapsed, officials said.
The quake also caused damage to Muqr district residents, but details, including casualties, are still not available.
The quake’s epicenter was near Qala-i-Naw, the capital of Badghis, less than 100 km (62 miles) from the Turkmenistan border, according to the United States Geological Survey.
Afghanistan is already in the grip of a humanitarian disaster, exacerbated by Western countries freezing international aid and access to assets held abroad following the Taliban takeover of the country in August.
The United Nations says it needs $ 5 billion in 2022 to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan and to provide the devastated nation with a future after 40 years of war and occupation.
A devastating drought exacerbated the crisis, with Qadis hit by earthquake one of the areas worst affected.
Afghanistan is regularly 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 homes and buildings in the impoverished country.
In 2015, nearly 280 people were killed when a magnitude 7.5 earthquake shook South Asia, killing most of them in Pakistan.
In that disaster, 12 young Afghan girls were killed in a stampede while trying to escape from their shaky school building.