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More than 950 killed in magnitude 5.9 earthquake in Afghanistan

An earthquake near the city of Khōst in south-east Afghanistan has killed nearly a thousand people and injured hundreds

Earth



22 June 2022

Taliban fighters secure a government helicopter to evacuate injured people in Gayan district, Afghanistan

Uncredited/AP/Shuttersto​ck

An earthquake in Afghanistan has killed nearly a thousand people and injured hundreds.

The magnitude 5.9 tremor struck today about 46 kilometres south-west of the south-eastern city of Khōst, with the US Geological Survey recording it occurring 10 kilometres below ground.

Officials have reported at least 950 people dead and more than 600 injured. A Taliban spokesperson tweeted that authorities had been instructed to provide food, clothing and medicine to those affected, and said an emergency meeting was held to coordinate the response.

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Afghanistan is regularly hit by earthquakes, with an active fault line in the east where the Indian tectonic plate moves northward and collides with the Eurasian plate. Today’s event was the deadliest since 2002, with reports it was also felt in the capital Kabul.

Richard Luckett, a seismologist at the British Geological Survey, says: “With a magnitude of 5.9 this earthquake would not usually be large enough to cause so many casualties. It has done so primarily because people in this region live in structures that are extremely vulnerable to earthquake shaking.”

While sanctions imposed since the Taliban returned to power last year have hit the country and limited aid operations, the Afghan Red Crescent Society, a humanitarian organisation, was reported to be on the ground to help people affected by the disaster. Hugo Shorter, a UK diplomat, said the UK government “stands ready to support Afghanistan as needed”.

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