Afghanistan earthquake June 2022
The Afghanistan earthquake of June 2022 was a magnitude 5.9 earthquake that occurred near the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, precisely on the Durand Line. It was the worst earthquake in Afghanistan in 20 years and the deadliest in 2022.
The earthquake was the result of shallow slip faulting. It was initially reported as a magnitude 6.1 event by the USGS at a depth of 51 km, but was later corrected to 5.9.
At Sperah, a maximum intensity of IX (Violent) was reported. Strong tremors were felt in the Shamal District and minor tremors were felt in the Afghan capital Kabul and in Pakistani cities such as Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar. The earthquake was also felt in parts of Iran and India.
The earthquake caused at least 1,150 deaths, including 121 children, and 3,000 injuries. The United Nations (UN) cited a death toll of 1,036 and 1,643 people were injured. It is the deadliest earthquake to hit Afghanistan in nearly 25 years. A total of 10,000 houses were partially or totally destroyed. Poor construction practices and building materials contributed to the high death toll. A US Geological Survey seismologist said the quake was destructive because of its shallow focus and epicenter in a densely populated, landslide-risk area where buildings are not designed to withstand ground shaking. In addition, weeks of heavy rain prior to the earthquake had weakened the structural integrity of the houses. The director of a charity said the death toll was expected to rise as the quake hit a region far from medical facilities and struck at night when most people slept at home. Adding to the death toll was the fact that the average family size was 20.
More than 25 villages were almost decimated. Schools, hospitals, houses and mosques collapsed. At least 381 of the more than 1,000 deaths were from Paktiyá province. However, it is not clear if these figures were confirmed by the government or if there were more unrecorded deaths. In one village, 17 members of a family died when their house collapsed and only one member survived. In Urgun, an important town in the province, up to 40 bodies were recovered. In the Gayan district of Paktiká Province, approximately 1,800 houses, or 70 percent of the houses in the district, were destroyed. In Khost Province, at least 600 houses were destroyed. In the small town of Gyan, one of the worst affected, the local clinic with capacity for five patients was severely damaged. Of the 500 patients admitted to the building, 200 died. The Spera district of Khost experienced the loss of 40 residents and 95 were injured. A total of 500 houses were destroyed in the district. Many houses built mainly of wood and mud were razed to the ground.
Initially, the Bakhtar News Agency reported a total of 280 deaths, including 100 in Paktiya Province, five in Nangarhar Province, and 25 in Khost Province. The agency also reported 600 injuries. In many cases, the bodies of the dead were placed in the streets overnight. Later, a Taliban official urged aid agencies to send aid to the area to prevent further catastrophes. Several apartment buildings in the affected provinces were destroyed. The director general of the Bakhtar News Agency tweeted that more than 90 houses were destroyed in Paktiká. Landslides that buried or destroyed houses also occurred in Khost province.
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