Hard Times of Herat Earthquake Victims

I go to the earthquake-hit villages in Zendeh Jan district of Herat; Where more than a thousand people have been killed by earthquake.

Nasrullah Ahmadi
1 Nov 2023
Hard Times of Herat Earthquake Victims

Looking all around these villages, nothing is seen, but destruction; the destruction has been left by the 6.3 magnitude earthquake.

I met Mir Ahmad in the village of Sia Aab, who has lost 23 members of his family. He says that 20 of them were children.

“I am an employee of MoE in Zendeh Jan district. When I arrived at Zendeh Jan, the news of earthquake was received to me. As soon, I reached the area, all my family members were under the rubbles.”

Residents of Zendeh Jan district have lost their family members, say that the loss of their loved ones and the destruction of their possessions is burden like a mountain on them.

Gul Ahmed, his family 5 members were killed in the earthquake, says that if rescue team would have reached to the trapped people in the area as soon, he could have pulled out all his family members alive out of rubbles.

Everyone who was inside the house, was not taken out alive. I came home at 10:30. Two of women, two daughters-in-law and a granddaughter were having tea when the catastrophe happened.”

Regarding the information of Red Crescent officials in the western region of the country, more than 1,000 people were killed and about 2,000 others were injured in the earthquake on Saturday 7 Oct.

Faiz Ahmad Mohammadi, Incidents Manager of Red Crescent, says that the rescue operation of trapped people under the rubbles is still ongoing.

Where did the rescue operation reach?

A day after the earthquake in Zendeh Jan district, more than 10 thousand people arrived with shovels and pickaxes to save the trapped people under the rubbles, however until now, three days have passed since this heartbreaking event, people are still trapped under the debris.

Abdullah, who lost 36 members of his uncle’s family, says that the government reached very late to the area for rescuing trapped people under the ruins.

“We came one o’clock p.m. Initially, we transferred our injured and then we went to the city and bought shovels and pickaxes for ourselves., we pulled out all our corpses out of rubbles from three to eleven p.m. at night.”

Bismillah, despair and hopeless appeared on his face, is not satisfied with the rescue operation of those trapped under the rubbles. He says that still a child in their village is under ruins.

“Many people were saved by us. The loader didn’t arrive, at the moment the earthquake happened, I tried to call, but was not connected. After two hours, I received a call from Iran, I told them to call anywhere they can. People arrived later, they were able taking out some, but not all.”

Meanwhile, officials of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan say that more than 4,000 people have been killed and injured as a result of this earthquake.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Deputy of Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, traveled to Herat, says that there are still people under the rubbles and rescue teams are working.

“The people have suffered; Islamic Emirate uses all the capacity to help them. All ministries and departments reach emergency assistances.”

By passing days, it has been clear that the victims of the earthquake are increasing daily, and the lack of shelter and basic livelihood is one of the main problems of mournful families.

Distribution of Assistance

Despite, many organizations and institutions have announced the distribution of assistance for the victims of the earthquake in Zendeh Jan district, some residents of this district want building of shelters for them.

Yar Mohammad, one of the residents of Koshkak village of Zendeh Jan district, lost 8 members of his family, demands immediate attention to the earthquake victims.

“We ask the government to provide us place, so that at least our children can have shelter. Winter is near and the region has become cold. You see that there is nothing left.”

Nawid Ahmad, another one of the victims, says: “Food, blankets and tents have arrived, however for now, we need shelters in the winter. Our population was 1060 and all the houses have been destroyed.”

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Deputy of Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, says: “We will arrange shelters for the victims, we will give them things like tents and tarpaulins, and the Islamic Emirate makes a promise of rebuilding about 15 hundred destroyed houses.”

Lack of Coordination

Earthquake affected complain about the lack of coordination in the identification of the injured individuals in the regional hospital.

They say that they spend hours looking for the injured person in this hospital, however there is no responsible.

Fazal Ahmad has returned from Iran to see his mourning family; he has no news of whether they are alive or dead. While squeezing his hands, he said that he was looking for them in the hospital for a whole day, however no one guided him.

“Out of twenty members of the family, I am the only one who came from Iran. I don’t know anything about the other members of the family. As much I look for them, no one can be found inside the hospital to answer me.”

Wali Mohammad, another victim of the earthquake, says that he also has no information about the destination of his relatives and no one is accountable to him in this regard.

“Some of our injured ones are still under rubbles, and the people who were transferred to this hospital, each of them have spread somewhere. We don’t know about their situation. I hope that the doctors have responsibility in this regard.”

Meantime, the officials at the Herat regional hospital, say that all the white-gown workers of this hospital are busy in serving the injured.

Dr. Noor Gul Walizada, Manager of nursing of this hospital, says that the number of transferred injured to this hospital is more and they are trying to reach out the health condition of the injured.

“Since morning of the day of the catastrophe, we have been busy providing services for the injured at the Herat regional hospital, and all of them have been served by the private and public sector.”

Based on the information of local officials, Zendeh Jan and Gulran districts people have suffered serious financial and human losses, of which Zendeh Jan is said to be the center of this earthquake, has suffered the most damage.

The villages of Wardaks, Sarbland, Sanjab, Koshkak, Azqulak, Naib Rafi, Sia Aab and Karneel are among the completely destroyed villages.

Meanwhile, including Herat, provinces of Badghis, Farah and city of Mashhad in Iran also witnessed 6.3 magnitude earthquake.


Translated by Muhammad Yousuf “Zakir”

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