A devastating earthquake in eastern Afghanistan has resulted in a significant loss of life, with over 1,000 reported dead and an additional 3,000 injured. The disaster has also led to the destruction of hundreds of homes in the mountainous province of Paktika. This earthquake is the deadliest in Afghanistan in the past two decades.
•Afghanistan’s vulnerability to earthquakes is attributed to its location atop several fault lines where the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates meet.
•Over the past two weeks, there have been ten moderately-sized earthquakes in and around Afghanistan with magnitudes of 4 or higher, indicating frequent seismic activity in the region.
•The recent earthquake was caused by stress built up from the collision of the Indian and Eurasian plates and had a magnitude of 5.9, according to the US Geological Survey.
•It struck at a shallow depth of 10 kilometers, which intensified its impact and caused tremors to be felt as far as 500 kilometers away in Pakistan and India.
•Afghanistan has experienced a history of deadly earthquakes, resulting in thousands of casualties over the past decade.
•One of the reasons for the high damage in Afghanistan is the lack of earthquake-resistant buildings, with many structures constructed from timber, mud bricks, or weak concrete.
•Landslides triggered by earthquakes in the mountainous terrain often exacerbate the destruction by flattening houses and blocking rivers, leading to widespread flooding.
•Afghanistan’s ongoing humanitarian crisis, with millions displaced and increasing poverty and hunger, compounds the challenges posed by the earthquake.
This tragic earthquake underscores Afghanistan’s susceptibility to seismic events and the urgent need for better infrastructure and preparedness measures to mitigate the impact of such disasters on its vulnerable population.