Afghanistan: UN agency assesses quake-hit areas, puts death toll so far at 1,023

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) has provided new figures about Herat earthquake casualties, saying 1,023 people lost their lives and 1,663 others were injured in 11 villages in Zenda Jan district of Herat in Saturday’s quakes.

Saturday’s quakes in the west of the country were epicentered about 35 kilometers northwest of the city of Herat. Two earthquakes, half an hour apart, in the Zinda Jan district measured 6.3 magnitude, while one of many aftershocks measured 5.9 magnitude, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said.

In a statement issued late Sunday, the UN agency said that 100 percent of homes are estimated to have been completely destroyed in the Zinda Jan district.

According to the statement, as many as 516 people – including 203 men and 213 women – are still missing as search and rescue efforts are continuing “with rapid multi-sectoral assessment teams deployed to affected areas.”

“In total, 11,585 people (1,655 families) are assessed to have been affected to date across Zinda Jan district (1,320 families), and Injil (150 families), Gulran (95 families), Kohsan (60 families) and Kushk (Robat-e-Sagani) districts (30 families). The number of casualties and households affected is expected to rise as remote areas are reached and assessments are completed,” the statement said.

“In Naieb Rafi village, the de-facto authorities (DfA), transported women and children whose homes had been completely destroyed to Herat City overnight and today. So far, assessments have identified 33 unaccompanied minors, 15 unaccompanied elderly, and 48 female-headed households in Zinda Jan district,” it added.

The organization, meanwhile, stated that humanitarian partners are ramping up response efforts and it has also approved a $5 million emergency reserve allocation from the Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund (AHF) to support the response.

However, the Taliban has said that the death toll from the incident has risen to 2,445.