5.6-magnitude earthquake shakes western Afghanistan, leaving more than 20 dead

KABUL, Jan 17 (Reuters) – More than 20 people were killed and hundreds of homes destroyed by a medium-intensity earthquake in western Afghanistan on Monday, local authorities said.

The 5.6-magnitude tremor struck in the western province of Badghis, on the border with Turkmenistan, and reduced brick houses to rubble, according to photos shared by local authorities.

“Unfortunately, our initial reports show that 22 people, including women and children, have been killed and four others have been injured,” said Baz Mohammad Sarwari, director of Information and Culture at the Badghis provincial administration.

“The mujahideen have reached some of the affected areas, but Badghis is a mountainous province, the number of casualties could increase,” he added, referring to Taliban fighters. There were also heavy rains also reported in the area.

Mullah Janan Saeqe, head of the Taliban-led government’s Emergency Operations Center, confirmed the death toll, saying more than 700 houses had been damaged.

Sanullah Sabit, director of the nursing unit at the main hospital in the capital of Badghis, said staff received five patients injured during the quake, most with serious fractures.

The earthquake had a depth of 30 kilometers, according to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Center. (Information from Kabul Newsroom and Sneha Bhowmik in Bangalore; Written by Charlotte Greenfield. Edited in Spanish by Marion Giraldo)


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